Mary, Mother of God and our Mother

The WORD in Other Words (2018) by Fr John Fullenbach SVD (Germany) on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

The Church celebrates today’s feast under the title ‘Mother of the Incarnate God.’ The Church celebrates this feast at the beginning of the New Year, as if wanting to place it deliberately under her protection.

In Luke’s Gospel, a profound devotion to the Mother of Jesus is reflected. For him, it is significant that Mary takes the lead role in the Incarnation, and then is present again, when on Pentecost the Church appears as the new, final salvation community. She is thus intimately connected with the coming of God into the world through the Holy Spirit and with the coming of the Church through the same Spirit on Pentecost.

Two of the most important titles of Mary are: Mother of God (to stress the true divinity of Jesus), and Mother of the Church (Mother of the community of the disciples). Mary fulfills her maternal care for us, firstly, by being an example of faith, the perfect disciple of her Son, through her earthly life of trust and faith in God. Secondly, after her assumption into heaven, Mary, like Jesus after the Resurrection, offered her maternal love to the Church.

It was Jesus himself who gave us his Mother as our mother. If a true veneration of the Virgin is cultivated, we can trustingly turn to her, especially when it is difficult for us to persevere in our mission and we no longer see the goal clearly but must walk in the dark. She knows what it means to walk in faith and not by sight. Jesus would say to us today at the beginning of the New Year: “Put your life in the New Year under her care and trust in her help; she will surely be there when you need help and consolation.”

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