May traditionally is considered the month of mothers, when we pray for all our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, all who have loved us in our lives with a motherly love, both living and deceased. We pray for a greater appreciation of all mothers and a greater respect for the gift of motherhood. These women are for their children the very face of God and they, along with their husbands, are their children’s introduction to what it means to be a human being.
As we look to the history of the Church, we encounter the figure of Nestorius, a theologian in the early Church who taught that Mary was not the “Theotokos” (“God-bearer”), but instead should be referred to as the “Christokos” (“Christ-bearer), meaning that Mary was the Mother of Christ, the Mother of Jesus, not the Mother of God.
This definition created by Arius and combatted by St. Cyril of Alexandria was rightly combatted because it called into question the very nature and identity of Jesus Christ. Jesus in one divine Person, with two natures, human and divine, and as such is fully God and fully man, one like us in all things but sin. The Council of Ephesus (431 AD) clarified that Mary can correctly be declared the “Mother of God.”
It is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s cooperation, her “fiat” with God that allowed the Holy Spirit to overshadow her and let her become the immaculate, spotless vessel to bring to this reality the incarnate Lord. It is the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her most chaste spouse, Joseph, who taught the Lord, in his human nature, what it means to be a human being. What a tremendous thing: to be mother and foster father to the One Who Is Life Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ. What a tremendous gift to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to her husband, St. Joseph, to be the ones who would guide and protect the Anointed One, the Son of Mary, who is the Son of God, Jesus Christ the Lord.
This Mother’s Day, pray that mothers will always realize the key role that they have in the formation of the characters and the consciences of their children.
As we hear in the baptismal rite, the father (and, also the mother) is the “first and best teacher in the ways of the faith.” Pray that we, their children, may always love, honor and appreciate the gift of our dear mothers.