Historically, Mary has always been identified an important figure from the beginnings of early Christianity, however, it wasn’t until the council of Ephesus in 431 CE that Mary was officially recognised as Theotokos, translated as ‘Mother of God’ or ‘Godbearer’. The issue needed to be discussed because in that period of history there were many who saw Mary differently. Essentially the problem was, if it wasn’t clear who Mary was, then it wasn’t clear who Christ was. That’s the central part about Mariology, that Mary is given devotion due to the nature and role of Christ’s divinity. It all comes down to the fact that she truly did bear Jesus, who is God, in her womb. So she's important in the life of the Church but the question to ask is how important is she for us now?
When I think of Mary, the quote that comes straight to mind is one from Bishop Fulton Sheen.
“How could we fail to love her, whom our Lord loved so much?”
This is not a quote that prompts us to love Mary more than Jesus. This isn’t a quote that identifies Mary as more important than Jesus. However, in this one short quote I see that Mary is to be recognised as someone deeply special, it is almost as if Bishop Sheen is urging us to understand Mary the way Christ did, as His good mother.
Reflecting on this quote has been awakening for me, speaking both to my intellect and my heart that there might be something missing if I have not experienced a love and a yearning for Mary. Yet while this quote doesn’t say much about what Mary did, it speaks on a deeply personal level of what she meant to Jesus. Mary was the first disciple to Jesus, but she was more than that. She brought Him into this world and nurtured and nourished Him into a fullness of life. She was present in His ministry and at His death.
Bishop Sheen's quote doesn't end with that one sentence though. He continues,
"It is impossible to love Christ without also loving the Mother who gave Him to us."
"How can I not love her, the one who Jesus loved so much? The one who Jesus owes so much to, His loving and protective Mother. Ultimately because of our desire to grow closer to Jesus, we continue to look to Mary. And as St Marcellin Champagnat did, we call upon her as our Good Mother, who nurtures and nourishes us, as she provides us with eternal nourishment through her son and our saviour, Jesus Christ.
Born and bred in the metropolis of Brisvegas, David is a B.Theology graduate from ACU who loves the Church, strawberry doughnuts & Liverpool FC. As well as being a Campus Minister at Marist College Ashgrove, David loves the outdoors, especially the beach. David is passionate about unleashing the potential of young people, and particularly forming and educating awesome young men.