The Mother of God
Presence of God – Holy Mother of God, make my heart one with yours, which was ever one with the Heart of God!
The divine maternity is the source of all Mary’s privileges. Mary, the Immaculate One, the beloved Daughter of the Father, is also the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, whose power overshadowed her because she had been chosen to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word. All Mary’s greatness and glory are explained in the light of her divine maternity; furthermore, her very existence is explained by her predestination to this high office. If God had not decreed that the Incarnation of His Son should take place in the womb of a virgin, we should never have had that masterpiece of grace and loveliness, the Most Blessed Virgin; we should never have had her smile or her maternal caresses. Therefore, we love and honor Mary because she is the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus; and loving her in her relation to God, our devotion to her only makes our love for God, for Jesus, deeper and more tender. “Mater Dei, Mater Creatoris,” Mother of God, Mother of our Creator, we invoke her in the litany. These two titles which seem to be contradictory, actually express a unique synthesis because Mary, although a creature, is really the Mother of her Creator, the Mother of God’s Son to whom she has given a human body: the fruit of her flesh and blood is the Son of God in whom and by whom all things were created. Here we understand more than ever how Mary’s dignity reaches the threshold of the infinite. “God could make a bigger world or a wider sky, but He could not raise a pure creature higher than Mary, for the dignity of the Mother of God is the highest dignity that can be conferred on a creature” (St. Bonaventure).
To anyone who wonders why so little is said about Mary in the Gospel, St. Thomas of Villanova replies: “What more do you want? Is it not enough for you to know that she is the Mother of God? It would have been sufficient to say, ‘De qua natus est Jesus,’ Jesus was born of her.” In fact, O Mary, all I need to know, in order to love you, is that you are the Mother of my God.
“I give You thanks, O Lord God, from the depths of my heart, because You condescended, for love of us unworthy creatures, to take upon Yourself our human nature. Born of a Virgin, You were nourished by her milk, cradled in her bosom; You were submissive to her, You who preserve and direct everything that exists. And You have deigned to enlighten me, a miserable creature, so that I might know that You have a Mother; You permit me, unworthy as I am, to be able and to dare to address her…. Oh! with what devotion should I not give my heart to you, O Virgin Mary! My mouth should be filled with wonderful sweetness when I speak to you, sweet and gentle Lady, and when I bless the fruit of your womb. Oh! when I address you, how is it that I am not so filled with delight that I forget everything but you and the fruit of your womb? What greeting is more welcome than the one which recognizes you as the Mother of God? You wish men to rejoice in you, so that their love will always reach your divine Son; therefore, you wish to be called and recognized as the Mother of God. Hail, then, O Mary, and truly hail! O wonderful Ave, that drives the demons away, frees sinners, and makes your children rejoice…. The Angel congratulates you, O Virgin; the Word took flesh in your womb, and you became the Mother of God. Every creature sings an endless Ave to you! With how great reverence, honor, and devotion should we salute you, O Blessed Virgin, because you seek those who approach you reverently and devoutly. You love them, you nourish them, and adopt them as your children. Oh! blessed is he who has the joy of having you for Mother, who embraces you lovingly and imitates you in his works! Oh! blessed is he who does all he can to conform himself to you, O Mother of God! Certainly he is one who, despising every creature, attaches himself to God alone, his only love, and, crucified with Christ, sighs for the salvation of souls” (cf. St. Bonaventure).
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Art: Detail of a stained glass window of the Holy Family, depicting Madonna and child, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland, artist unknown, photographed by Andreas F. Borchert, 23 September 2010 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.