Is Mary Truly the Mother of God?

by Arthur Policarpio 

How can Mary the Mother of Jesus, a mere human being, be the Mother of God?

Many of us Catholics who have been brought up in a non-questioning culture of staunch Catholicism perhaps do not realize the importance of being "armed" with the right answers regarding important questions of our faith.

The truth of the matter, however, is that outside the comfortable walls of religious conformism and harmony of views are thousands of people who ask questions.

These questions hanging in their minds are like small cracks in the edifice of their faith, and if left unanswered, the entire structure could eventually collapse... unless we know our faith well and help them know the right answers.

This article, therefore, has two target audiences. First, it is intended to provide enlightenment to those who are in doubt or completely do not believe that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God.

Second, it is intended for those who believe in Mary's Divine Motherhood -- to provide them with the necessary insights needed to be able to answer the questions of those who doubt, particularly our non-catholic brethren.

The Nestorian Heresy

Many of our non-Catholic brethren question the dogma of the Divine Motherhood of Mary by inadvertently reechoing the Nestorian heresy which was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431. Nestorius claimed that in Christ Incarnate, there are two distinct persons -- one divine and the other human. With this premise, Nestorius concluded that Mary was mother only of the human person of Jesus. Thus, according to Nestorius, Mary cannot be considered "Mother of God".

The Council, attended by around 150 bishops and presided over by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, condemned the teachings of Nestorius. Specifically, the council argued in clear terms that in Jesus is one person (the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity) with two natures (Divine and Human). The union of the two natures of Christ is called hypostatic union since one cannot be without the other.

Because of the hypostatic union, the inseparable union between the two natures of Jesus, Mary is rightfully the Mother of God. She is the Mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Is Mary Above God?

Some say that Mary cannot be the Mother of God because it is inconceivable for a mortal human like Mary to be "aboveā€ God. How can the Creator "come from'' Mary, a mortal? Motherhood, somehow, gives a certain degree or perception of superiority on the part of the mother over her child, for the reason that the child has to rely on the mother for its conception. Therefore, how can Jesus "rely" on Mary for His conception and birth?

The answer, I think, lies in the word "Immanuel". Jesus wanted to be truly "one with us'' and the only way for Him to do that was to become human himself by being born of a Mother. In other words, the Divine Motherhood of Mary was an essential element of God's plan to come into the world and restore the intimate relationship between God and Man, by becoming human through the Person of Jesus.

Mary's Motherhood does not mean that Mary is "superior" to Jesus. Because Jesus is both God and Man (hypostatic union of the two natures), Jesus still retained His Divinity, and therefore superiority over Mary, even if He had to rely on a human vessel in Mary to come into the world.

The Way of Mary

Jesus could have chosen other ways of coming into the world. He could have come in all His glory, bearing with all His Divine Power and coming down from the clouds. But the fact is that He chose to go through Mary, and to be born into the world as a helpless little infant in the arms of Our Lady. He chose to have a Mother. He chose to give His all to Mary: to rely on her for His safety, for His food and nourishment, for His upbringing and growth.

And perhaps herein lies the best answer to the question on whether Mary is truly Mother of God. Mary is Mother of God because God wanted it to be so! Dare we question this Divine decision?

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