Mary Holy Mother of God
Solemnity of Mary: Holy Mary, Mother of God
We say the prayer all the time, so much so that, like the Our Father, we can miss the meaning of each phrase. The prayer I am speaking of is the Hail Mary. I would like to reflect a bit on the prayer that we say and sing so often.
But first, let's look at today's Gospel. The Gospel presents amazed people and shepherds and a reflective Mary. The people are amazed because the shepherds told them about the message they heard from the angels. Everything took place as the angels said. They would find an infant in a manger who would be the Savior of Israel. In our nativity scenes we all have shepherds. Whether you have expensive statues or not, if you look at the eyes of the shepherd statues, you'll see a look of amazement. We are very much like the shepherds. We are common, everyday working people who have been called by angels to witness the miracle of God's salvation in the form of Jesus Christ.
Like the shepherds, we are called to the manger. This is a grace. We have been called by God to witness His Presence on earth.
And we are amazed. When life's troubles weigh on us, we still experience the reality of His Presence. We know that no matter what the future holds, positive or negative, we will not face it alone. The very names of the Lord that we read in scripture confirm this. He is called Emmanuel, which means God is with us. His name is Jesus, the name that means Yahweh saves us. The Almighty Creator of the Universe cares so much for each one of us that He guides us to a life full of meaning, to a life united to His own life, to salvation. We are amazed.
In today's Gospel Mary reflects in her heart the events of Jesus' birth. She knows better than anyone that this child is both hers and God's. She hears from the shepherds their account of the angels directing them, singing to them, and she knows that the world has been changed due to the presence on earth of the child that was within her.
Mary has a unique role to play in mankind's salvation. She gives birth to the Savior. She stands beneath the Cross. She becomes our mother. Her role in the work of the Lord does not end with His birth, it just begins. It continues even now as we call upon her as the Mother of God and our mother.
Let's look at this title, the title of today's solemnity, Mother of God. When we call Mary, Mother of God, we are acknowledging that there is only one Second Person of the Trinity. After the conception within Mary this Person has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature. We can understand the distinction with the words what and who. What am I? I am a human being. Who am I? I am Joseph Anthony Pellegrino, Msgr. Joe. There is only one what in me, human being. But there are two whats to Jesus. He has two natures. The two natures of Jesus are human nature and divine nature. What is Jesus? He is divine.
He is human. Mary is the mother of the human nature, not the divine nature of God, therefore, she is not a deity. But there is only one who, one person of Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Mary is mother of Jesus, therefore she is Mother of God. Perhaps an analogy of this mystery would be to recognize that all mothers are mothers of the human being who is their child, the what, but with baptism their child received God's life and becomes both human and spiritual. Who is your child? He is yours, and he is God's. All the baptized are sons and daughters of God. Mothers, and fathers for that matter, are parents of the total children, including their spiritual existence. They are mothers and fathers not just of a human child, the what, but they are parents of people, the who. Your daughter, Sarah, your son, John, is a child of God. You are mothers and fathers of sons and daughters of God.
Over and over again we pray in the Hail Mary, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. When we do this we are asking her to use her unique relationship to God to call upon Him to care for us. That is why the Rosary is such a powerful prayer. In the rosary we are recognizing Mary's role in our salvation as the Mother of God and our mother.
An angel announced to her, "Hail Mary, full of grace." Elizabeth proclaimed, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." and Joseph named the child, Jesus, pouring out on him the whole lineage of David. And we call upon her as Mother of God and our mother.
We ask her to pray for us now, and particularly, in that point of each of our lives when we will pass from this life to the next, the hour of our death. All of this is contained in the Hail Mary, that prayer we learned as children and which we recite over and over, particularly when we say the Rosary.
Today, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I commend the Rosary to you. Say this prayer daily. Don't worry about the repetitions. Just say it. Don't worry about distractions. Just say it. Let Mary take your cares to her Son. Mary has a unique relationship with the Divine. She is the Mother of Jesus. She is the Mother of God.