Mary, the Mother of God

Virgin and Child

The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God (January 1) is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church as the Christmas celebrations end and a new year begins. This feast begins a month named for the Roman god Janus, the two faced god who looks ahead and looks back. Mary connects us to the world ahead as well as the world of the past, and so we pray to her “that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

Christian churches of the east have a similar feast at this time honoring the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. .

“Marvelous is the mystery proclaimed today
Our nature is made new as God becomes man;
He remains what he was and becomes what he was not,
Yet each nature stays distinct and undivided.” Canticle, Morning Prayer

Mary’s Son who came “in the fullness of time” blesses all time:
“The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Numbers 6, 22-27)

On this feast of Mary, the Mother of God, I think of a PBS special “What Darwin Never Knew” produced awhile ago on Nova. I don’t remember or understand a lot of the program’s scientific material, but its description of DNAs and embryos caught my attention.

According to scientists, embryos from different living beings–humans, animals, birds, fish– appear remarkably alike at an early stage of development, as if they were from the same source. Then, something triggers a different development in each species. Humans sprout arms and legs and begin human development. The other species develop in their own way.

A few years ago, I visited an exhibit called “Deep Time” at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington which described the development of the earth through 4.5 billion years. One section described our development as human beings from 4.5 billion years ago. Our human species developed over time in an evolving world.

In Mary’s womb, the Word became flesh, connected with the world of the past and the world of the future. Early theologians, like St. Irenaeus, say the Word became truly human, and therefore went through the same process of development as we do. They also say the Word had to assume all that he would redeem. Can we say that in his early embryonic journey in Mary’s womb the Word assumed the creation he would renew? The embryonic journey is a sacred journey that needs to be cared for and recognized.

“Blessed is the fruit of your womb,” Elizabeth says to Mary before Jesus’ birth. (Luke 1,42) At that moment, the Word of God gave the promise of redemption to another infant– Elizabeth’s son John. Was that promise also communicated to the rest of creation in Mary’s womb, by the Word made flesh, who dwelt among us– Jesus Christ, maker and Savior of all?

11 thoughts on “Mary, the Mother of God

  1. Liz Forest

    The LORD bless us and keep us!
    The LORD let his face shine upon us,
    and be gracious to us!
    The LORD look upon us kindly and give us peace!” (based on Numbers 6, 22-27)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fdan

    Dear Father Victor, I found the following excerpt that reminds me of yours and GMC’s teachings: In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God. With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise. With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people.
    —from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cenaclemary12

    “In another time, the disciple asked the teacher, “What is the true Way?” And the teacher answered, “Every day is the true Way.” And so the disciple asked, “Well, can I study it?” But the teacher answered, “The more you study, the further from the Way you are.” “But if I don’t study it,” the disciple persisted, “how can I know it?” And the master answered, “The Way does not belong to things seen nor to things unseen. It does not belong to things known nor to things unknown. Do not seek it or study it or name it. To find yourself on it, simply open yourself as wide as the sky.”

    In this time, I name the Way as Christ! Jesus surely opened himself as wide as the sky! His birth possible only because Mary believed with God all things are possible.


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