Mother knows best: A Reflection on Mary as Mother of God

“Behold, your mother!” (John 19:27)

The Dogma on Mary as Mother of God is a precious truth that we Catholics must be proud of. This constitutive reality defines our identity distinct and privileged. Catechism, no. 509 summarizes the teaching as follows: “Mary is truly ‘Mother of God’ since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.” The title “Mother of God” points to the sublime truth of the Incarnation, that Jesus Christ is true God and true man.

This title of Mary is considered the most ancient among others and was as a controversy was first addressed in 431 A.D. at the Council of Ephesus. The Church wanted to settle one question: Was Jesus one person or two? Rejecting the teaching of the heretic Nestorius, the Church declared that Jesus is one divine person, with two natures—his mother’s human nature and his Father’s divine nature. Mary did not give Jesus his divine nature or his divine personhood—those He possessed from all eternity as the only begotten Son of the Father.

But she also didn’t just give Him His flesh: She gave birth to the whole person. She gave birth to Jesus Christ, both God and man. That is what we confess every time we say the Apostles’ Creed.

Knowing the will of God

When we look at the life of the Mother Mary, we can see a clear vision of how each of us should discern and decide. The blessed mother composed probably the most effective prayer – “Thy will be done.” Grounded in sublime humility, Mary submitted herself to the divine will of the Father amidst the risk of the society’s cruel consequences. As Christians, we are offered this opportunity to witness our faith.

Our current situation challenges us to trust God and put our faith in His words like Mary did. The recent pandemic has indeed changed the world’s view in many regards. Many questioned their faith and saw the reality of sickness rather than the healing power of God. Others resorted to human intelligence more than wisdom. Uncertain maybe the situation we are all having now, we must focus our eyes on the promises Jesus had given us and like Mary who out of her deep love for God answered ‘Yes’.

Chosen and favoured

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary”. We may ask why did God choose Mary? We can only know the answer we get to heaven and probably ask God Himself. But looking into the scripture we find a message of hope. Mary may have been a very pious woman or simply put – godly but more than which, God has given her the privilege to be the mother of God. During her time, many were really wanting to become that chosen one. A singular privilege that not every woman maybe granted, only to Mary.

The angelic greeting “Rejoice…highly favoured…!” is a profound promise of God for us. In our present world where everything seems to be relative and is decided purely by personal motivation, we find refuge in the same reality that Mary as Mother of God has found, that the will of God is always the best way to decide. Today’s secular world must be seen as an opportunity for us Christians to show off our belief that Mary is the mother of God and we are her children.

Lowly mother…beloved disciple

At the foot of the cross, we find reference to two great persons… that of Mary as the lowly mother and the disciple who Jesus loved. These two images highlight the title of Mary as Mother of God. Dying on the cross, Jesus entrusted us to his own mother. While many scholars named St John as the beloved disciple which is referred only in His Gospel, we can still say that this is also figurative and may refer to us.

No one else on earth has been more credible witness than Mary. From the moment of Annunciation until Jesus’ last breath, it was His mother who bore all these events with profound humility, silence and contemplative spirit.

Let the Magnificat be always our prayer… “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my saviour; for He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.”

Was incarnate and became man

Jesus becoming man is a profound mystery. From this spring forth the greatest proof of Mary’s title as Mother of God. It was God’s humility which made Mary to do nothing less but imitate. It needed a God to become man to show how important a mother is. Jesus could just have been a majestic saviour…a ruler and king. It was all the more possible for Him to disregard any human intervention to take part in the history of salvation. But it gives us a great hope that God also has chosen the natural process of humanity to become part of God’s divine plan. Jesus became what we were not but remain who He is and along this greatest mystery was a woman named Mary.

Ancient yet presently effective

Some people might think that the oldest prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary would be the Hail Mary, but it’s not; the Sub Tuum Praesidium is an ancient Marian prayer of the early Church, the oldest known prayer to Our Lady. The oldest version of this prayer is in Greek on an Egyptian papyrus dating back to the 3rd century. The Latin translation dates from the 11th century and was likely made from the Greek.

During this time of Pandemic and great uncertainties, this prayer is most relevant and effective. Maternal instinct among us echoes with this prayer calling for refuge and comfort. Indeed, Mary the mother of God will always be on our side as our advocate and defender leading us always to Jesus her son, our God because to be truly Christian, we must also be Marian.

Ave Maria!

Prayer to Mary, Mother of God

Father, source of light in every age,
the virgin conceived and bore Your Son
Who is called Wonderful God,
Prince of Peace.
May her prayer,
the gift of a mother’s love,
be Your people’s joy through all ages.
May her response,
born of a humble heart,
draw Your Spirit to rest on Your people.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.


Written By: Joseph R. Tambio