I would like to wish all of you a happy, healthy and holy New
Year. As we begin the new year we start with the Blessed
Mother. We celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
which is a Holy Day of Obligation. The solemnity honors the
divine motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the GodBearer, Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on January 1st, one week after Christmas.
In the 4th and 5th centuries debates about the nature of Christ
raged in the Church. The debate was about the relationship of
Christ’s divine and human natures. At the center of this debate
was a title of Mary. Since at least the 3rd century, Christians
had referred to Mary as theotokos, meaning “God-bearer.”
The first documented usage of the term is in the writings of
Origen of Alexandria in AD 230. Related to theotokos, Mary
was called the mother of God. Referring to Mary this way was
popular in Christian piety, but the patriarch of Constantinople
from 428-431, Nestorius, objected. He suggested that Mary
was only the mother of Jesus’ human nature, but not his divine
nature. Nestorius’ ideas (or at least how others perceived his
arguments) were condemned at the Council of Ephesus in AD
431 and again, at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.
The Church decided that Christ was fully God and fully human, and these natures were united in one divine person, Jesus
Christ. Thus, Mary could be called “mother of God” since she
gave birth to Jesus who was fully divine as well as human.
Since this time, Mary has been frequently honored as the
“mother of God” by Catholics, Orthodox, and many
A prayer for our Blessed Mother on this day:
Rejoice Mary, Mother of God,
Virgin, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb,
for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.
Meet it is in truth, to glorify thee,
O Birth-giver of God,
ever blessed, and all undefiled,
the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim,
and beyond compare
more glorious than the Seraphim,
thou who without stain didst bear God the Word,
true Birth-giver of God, we magnify thee.