Mother of God and Our Mother | A Homily by St. Josemaria

All the feasts of Our Lady are great events, because they are opportunities that the Church gives us to show with deeds that we love Mary. But if I had to choose one among all her feasts, I would choose today’s, the feast of the divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin.

Today’s celebration brings us to consider some of the central mysteries of our faith. We meditate on the Incarnation of the Word, which is the work of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. Through the Incarnation of Our Lord in her immaculate womb, Mary, the Daughter of God the Father, is also the Spouse of God the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God the Son.

When the Blessed Virgin said Yes, freely, to the plans revealed to her by the Creator, the divine Word assumed a human nature: a rational soul and a body, which was formed in the most pure womb of Mary. The divine nature and the human were united in a single Person: Jesus Christ, true God and, thenceforth, true Man; the only-begotten and eternal Son of the Father and, from that moment on, as Man, the true son of Mary. This is why Our Lady is the Mother of the Incarnate Word, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity who has united our human nature to himself for ever, without any confusion of the two natures. The greatest praise we can give to the Blessed Virgin is to address her loud and clear by the name that expresses her very highest dignity: Mother of God.

This has always been the true belief of Christians. Against those who denied it, the Council of Ephesus proclaimed that ‘if anyone should deny that the Emmanuel is truly God, and that therefore the most Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God, since she gave birth according to the flesh to the incarnate Word of God, let him be anathema’.

History has handed down to us eye-witness accounts of the joy felt by the Christians when they received such clear, precise definitions, which reaffirmed what everyone believed. In the words of St Cyril, ‘The entire community of the city of Ephesus, from the first hours of the day until nightfall, waited anxiously for the resolution… When it became known that the author of the blasphemies had been deposed, with one voice we began to glorify God and to acclaim the Synod, for the enemy of the faith had fallen. On leaving the church we went by torchlight to our houses. It was night time and the whole city was joyful and illuminated.’ I must say that, even at a distance of sixteen centuries, their outburst of piety impresses me deeply.

God grant that this same faith may burn in our hearts, and that a hymn of thanksgiving may rise from our lips: for the Blessed Trinity, in choosing Mary as the Mother of Christ, a Man like us, has brought each one of us under the shelter of her maternal cloak. She is the Mother of God and our Mother.

The divine Motherhood of Mary is the source of all the perfections and privileges with which she is endowed. Because of it, she was conceived immaculate and is full of grace; because of it, she is ever virgin, she was taken up body and soul to heaven and has been crowned Queen of all creation, above the angels and saints. Greater than she, none but God. ‘The Blessed Virgin from the fact that she is the Mother of God has a certain infinite dignity which comes from the infinite good, which is God.’ There is no danger of exaggerating. We can never hope to fathom this inexpressible mystery; nor will we ever be able to give sufficient thanks to our Mother for bringing us into such intimacy with the Blessed Trinity.

We were sinners and enemies of God. Redemption has not only freed us from sin and reconciled us with Our Lord. It has also made us into children of God and has given us a Mother, the very Mother who gave birth to the Word when he took human nature. Could there ever be a greater, more generous, outpouring of love? God longed to redeem us and, in his infinite wisdom, could have chosen many different ways of carrying out his most holy Will. He chose one which dispels all possible doubts about our salvation and glorification. ‘Just as the first Adam was not born of man and woman, but was formed of earth, so also the last Adam, who was to heal the wound of the first, took a body formed in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, in order to be, in his flesh, equal to the flesh of those who sinned.’

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“Mother of God and Our Mother” is an excerpt from the homily given by St. Josemaria Escriva on the Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary October 11, 1964.  The homily is published by Scepter Publishers in the book “Friends of God”.

St. Josemaria Escriva St. Josemaria Escriva

St. Josemaria Escriva, priest and founder of Opus Dei, was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and declared the “saint of the ordinary” for his example and teachings on the value of work and daily life as the path to holiness in the middle of the world.

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