This Feast, observed throughout the Western Church on October 11, honor Mary as Mother of God, and bears the same sort of relation to the Annunciation and to Christmas as does the Synaxis of Our Lady in the Byzantine rite. It was long known in Portugal and elsewhere, but was finally instituted in 1931 by Pope Pius XI in view of the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus.
At the same time the Pope ordered at his own cost the restoration of the Marian mosaics in Saint Mary Major, much decayed through age. He issued an encyclical letter, “Lux veritatis.” In this, among the objects of the new festival, is named one truth that was particularly close to the heart of Pius XI, “…that Mary, who is loved and revered so warmly by the separated Christians of the East, would not suffer them to wander and be unhappily led further away from the unity of the Church, and therefore from her Son, whose vicar on earth we are.” (From: https://luisapiccarreta.com/?s=divine+maternity)
Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The celebration on this day throughout the Western church of a feast in honour of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, was enjoined by Pope Pius XI in the encyclical “Lux veritatis“, published on December 25, 1931, in view of the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus.
In the third lesson of the second nocturn of the office of the new feast mention is made of the arch in the basilica of St. Mary Major, which Pope St. Sixtus III (432-440) decorated with mosaics shortly after the council, and which has been restored in modern times by the care of Pius XI himself. This, we are taught, remains as a stricking monument of the proclamation of our Lady’s incomparable honour as Mother of God. But in the institution of the present festival, the pope, as his encyclical explains, had also other objects in view.
“One thing in particular”, he says, “and that indeed one of great importance, we specially desire that all should pray for, under the auspices of our heavenly Queen. That is, that she, who is loved and venerated with such ardent piety by the separated Christians of the East, would not suffer them to wander and be unhappily led further away from the unity of the Church, and therefore from her Son, whose vicar on earth We are. May they return to the common Father, whose judgement all the fathers of the synod of Ephesus most dutifully received, and whom they all saluted with concordant acclamations as the guardian of the faith; may they all return to Us, who have indeed a fatherly affection for them all, and who gladly make our own those most loving words which Cyril used, when he earnestly exhorted Nestorius that ‘the peace of the churches may be preserved, and that the bond of love and of concord among the priests of God may remain indissoluble’.”
Encyclical, Lux veritatis, in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xxiii (1931)
Our Lady to the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:
Lesson of the Queen of Heaven – Day Five
Daughter (Luisa) most dear to Me, oh! how I yearn to confide My secrets to My daughter; secrets which will give Me much Glory, and that will Glorify that Divine Fiat which was the primary cause of My Immaculate Conception, of My Sanctity, Sovereignty and Maternity. I owe everything to the Fiat—I know nothing else. All of My sublime prerogatives for which the Holy Church so much honors Me, are nothing other than the effects of that Divine Will which dominated Me, reigned and lived in Me.
This is why I yearn so much that that which produced in Me so many privileges and admirable effects as to astonish Heaven and earth, be known.
My dear daughter (Luisa), today I await you more than ever. My maternal Heart is swollen; I feel the need to pour out My ardent love with My daughter: I want to say to you that I am the Mother of Jesus. My joys are infinite; seas of happiness inundate Me. I can say: I am the Mother of Jesus; His creature, His handmaid, is Mother of Jesus—and I owe this only to the Fiat. It rendered Me full of grace, It prepared the worthy dwelling for My Creator. Therefore, always glory, honor and thanksgiving be to the Supreme Fiat.
Now listen to Me, daughter of My Heart (Luisa): as soon as the little Humanity of Jesus was formed in My womb by the power of the Divine Fiat, the Sun of the Eternal Word incarnated Himself in It. I had My Heaven, formed by the Fiat, all studded with most refulgent stars which glittered with joys, beatitudes, harmonies of Divine beauty; and the Sun of the Eternal Word, blazing with inaccessible light, came to take His place within this Heaven, hidden in His little Humanity. And since His little Humanity could not contain Him, the center of this Sun remained in It, but Its light overflowed outside, and investing Heaven and earth, It reached every heart. And with Its pounding of light, It knocked at each creature, and with voices of penetrating light, It said to them:
“My children, open to Me (Jesus); give Me a place in your heart. I have descended from Heaven to earth in order to form My Life in each one of you. My Mother is the center in which I reside, and all My children will be the circumference, in which I want to form so many of My Lives for as many as are My children.”
And the light knocked and knocked again, without ever ceasing; and the little Humanity of Jesus moaned, cried, agonized, and within that light which reached into the hearts, He made flow His tears, His moans and His pangs of love and of sorrow.
Now, you must know that a new life began for your Mama. I was aware of everything that My Son was doing. I saw Him devoured by seas of flames of love; each one of His heartbeats, breaths and pains, were seas of love that He unleashed, enveloping all creatures to make them His own by force of love and of sorrow. In fact, you must know that as His little Humanity was conceived, He conceived all the pains He was to suffer, up to the last day of His life. He enclosed all souls within Himself, because, as God, no one could escape Him. His immensity enclosed all creatures, His all-seeingness made them all present to Him. Therefore, My Jesus, My Son, felt the weight and the burden of all the sins of each creature. And I, your Mama, followed Him in everything, and felt within My maternal Heart the new generation of the pains of My Jesus, and the new generation of all the souls whom, as Mother, together with Jesus I was to generate to grace, to light, to the new life which My dear Son came to bring upon earth.
My daughter, you must know that from the moment I was conceived, I loved you as Mother, I felt you in My Heart, I burned with love for you, but I did not understand why. The Divine Fiat made Me do facts, but kept the secret hidden from Me. But as He incarnated Himself, He revealed the secret to Me, and I comprehended the fecundity of My Maternity—that I was to be not only Mother of Jesus, but Mother of all; and this Maternity was to be formed on the stake of sorrow and of love. My daughter, how much I have loved you, and I love you.
Now listen to Me, dear daughter—what extent one can reach when the Divine Will takes operating life in the creature, and the human will lets It work without impeding Its step. This Fiat, which by nature possesses the generative virtue, generates all goods in the creature; It renders her fecund, giving her maternity over all, over all goods, and over He who created her. Maternity says and means true love, heroic love, love that is content with dying to give life to the one it has generated. If this is not there, the word maternity is sterile, is empty, and is reduced to words, but does not exist with facts. Therefore, if you (Luisa), My daughter, want the generation of all goods, let the Fiat take operating life in you, which will give you the maternity, and you will love everyone with love of mother. And I, your Mama, will teach you how to fecundate in you this maternity, all Holy and Divine.
From the writings of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta
12/8/24 – Vol. 17 – But do you want to know what was the greatest prodigy worked by Us in this creature so holy, and the greatest heroism of this creature so beautiful, that no one – no one will ever be able to equal? She began Her life with Our Will, and with Our Will She continued it and fulfilled it. So, one can say that She fulfilled it from the moment She started it, and that She started it there where She fulfilled it; and Our greatest prodigy was that in each one of Her thoughts, words, breaths, heartbeats, movements and steps, Our Will poured upon Her, and She offered Us the heroism of a divine and eternal thought, word, breath, heartbeat, operating in Her. This raised Her so high that what We were by nature, She was by grace. All of Her other qualities, Her privileges, Her very Immaculate Conception, would have been nothing compared to this great prodigy. Even more, this is what confirmed Her and made Her stable and strong during all of Her life. My continuous Will, pouring upon Her, made Her share in the Divine Nature; and Her continuous receiving It, rendered Her strong in love, strong in sorrow – different from everyone. In this Will of Ours operating in Her, She drew the Word upon earth, and the seed of the Divine Fecundity in order to conceive a Man and God without human intervention. And Our Will made Her worthy to be the Mother of Her own Creator.
12/8/31 – Vol. 30 – … “In sum, in everything She (the Blessed Virgin Mary) is the Queen, All-Doer, who is unable to remain idle upon Her Throne of Glory, but descends—runs as Mother into the acts and needs of Her children. Therefore, thank Her for Her many Maternal Cares, and thank God who has given to all generations a Mother so Holy, Lovable, and who Loves so much as to reach the point of acting as the Withdrawer of all their acts in order to cover them with Her Own, and to compensate for what is lacking in them, of Beauty and of Goodness.”
12/8/35 – Vol. 34 – “In fact, there is no Grace that descends over the earth, there is no Sanctity that is formed, there is no sinner who is converted, there is no Love that departs from Our Throne, that is not first deposited in Her (the Blessed Virgin Mary’s) Heart of Mother, that forms the maturation of that Good, fecundates it with Her Love, enriches it with Her Graces, and, if necessary, with the virtue of Her Sorrows, and then She deposits it in who must receive it in a way that the one who receives it feels the Divine Paternity and the Maternity of her Celestial Mother. We can do it without Her, but We do not want to; who will have the heart of setting Her aside? Our Love, Our Infinite Wisdom, Our Fiat Itself, impose over Us, and do not let Us do anything that does not descend by Her means.
12/8/36 – Vol. 34 – But while I remained surprised, and I would have remained there who knows how long if my sweet Jesus had not called me by telling me: “I want to Honor My Celestial Mother. I want to narrate the story of Her Immaculate Conception. Only I can speak of it, being Author of so Great a Prodigy. Now, My daughter, the First Act of this Conception was one Fiat of Ours, pronounced with such Solemnity and with such Fullness of Grace, as to enclose everything and everyone. We centralized everything in this Conception of the Virgin. In Our Divine Fiat, in which past and future do not exist, the Incarnation of the Word was held present, and It made Her Conceived and incarnated in the same Incarnation of Me, future Redeemer. My Blood that was in act as if I Myself were shedding it, continually sprinkled Her, embellished Her, Confirmed Her, and fortified Her in a Divine Way.
“But it was not enough for My Love. All Her Acts, Words, and Steps, were first Conceived in My Acts, Words, and Steps, and then they had Life. My Humanity was the refuge, the hiding place, the embodiment of this Celestial Creature, such that if She Loved Us, Her Love was Incarnated and Conceived in My Love. And O! how She Loved Us. Her Love enclosed everything and everyone. I can say that She Loved as a God knows how to Love. She had Our same follies of Love for Us and for all creatures, and that Loving one time, She Loves, She always Loves, without ever stopping. Her prayer was Conceived in My Prayer and therefore it had an Immense Value, a Power over Our Supreme Being—and who could deny Her anything? Her sufferings, Her Sorrows, Her Martyrdoms, that were so many, were first Conceived in My Humanity, and then She felt in Herself the Life of the sufferings and of the excruciating Martyrdoms, all animated by Divine Strength. Therefore one can say She was Conceived in Me. From Me Her Life went forth. Everything that I did and Suffered lined up around this Holy Creature in order to court Her and continuously pour Myself over Her, and be able to tell Her: ‘You are the Life of My Life, You are All Beautiful, You are the First Redeemed, My Divine Fiat has molded You, It has Breathed on You, and It has made You be Conceived in My Works, in My Humanity Itself.’
“Now, My daughter, Conceiving this Celestial Creature in the Incarnate Word, was done by Us with Highest Wisdom, with Unreachable Power, with Inexhaustible Love, and with Decorum that befits Our Works. I, Word of the Father, having to descend from Heaven in order to Incarnate Myself in the Womb of a Virgin, just virginity and having made Her exempt from the stain of original sin was not sufficient for the Sanctity of My Divinity, therefore it was necessary for Our Love and for Our Sanctity that this Virgin first would be Conceived in Me with all those Prerogatives, Virtues, and Beauties that the Life of the Incarnate Word must possess, and then, therefore, I could be Conceived in the One who had been Conceived in Me.
“And I found in Her My Heaven, the Sanctity of My Life, My own Blood that had Generated Her and watered Her so many times. I found My own Will, that communicating Its Divine Fecundity to Her, formed the Life of Her and the Son of God. My Divine Fiat, in order to make Her Worthy of being able to Conceive Me, held Her Invested and under Its continuous Empire that possesses all acts as if they were One Single Act. In order to give Her everything, It called into act My foreseen Merits, My Whole Life, and It continuously poured it within Her Beautiful Soul.
“Therefore I (Jesus) alone can tell the true story of the Immaculate Conception and of Her (the Blessed Virgin Mary’s) whole Life, because I (God) Conceived Her (the Blessed Virgin Mary) in Me and I am aware of everything. And if the Holy Church speaks about the Celestial Queen, they can say only the first letters of the alphabet about Her Sanctity, Greatness, and Gifts with which She was enriched. If you knew the Contentment that I feel when I speak about My Celestial Mother, who knows how many demands you would make Me in order to give Me the Joy of letting Me speak about the One whom I Love so much, and who has Love
12/8/37 – Vol. 35 – …“Do you see then, the extent of Our (God’s) Power and Our Love in the Conception of this Holy Creature (the Blessed Virgin Mary)? We reached the point of elevating Her to such a Height and Glory that She can say: ‘Wherever My Creator is, there I am—to Love Him. He Invested Me with such Power and Glory that I am Sovereign over all. Everything is dependent on Me. My Dominion reaches everywhere, to the extent that, while I am Conceived in all things I keep, Conceived within Me, the sun, the wind, the sea—everything. I possess everything in Me—even My Creator, and I am the Sovereign and the Owner of all. This is all of My Unreachable Height; My Glory—that nobody can equal, and My Great Honor: with My Love I embrace all, I Love all, and I belong to all. I am the Mother of My Creator.’”
12/8/38 – Vol. 36 – My flight in the Divine Will continues. It seems to me that It can be found in all things, natural and spiritual, saying with Unspeakable Love: “I am here, let’s act together—do not do it by yourself. Without Me you wouldn’t know how to do it the way I would. I would remain with the Pain of having been put aside, while you would remain with the sorrow of not having in your acts the Value of one single Act of a Divine Will.”
While I was thinking this, my sweet Jesus, repeating His short little visit, all Goodness told me: “My blessed daughter, My Most Holy Humanity was the depository of My Divine Will. There was no act, little or great, even the breathing and the motion, that My Humanity, like a veil, did not hide completely in My Divine Fiat. Even more, I would not have been capable of a breath or a movement if I did not enclose It within Me. Therefore, My Humanity served as the veil in which to hide My Divinity as well as the Great Prodigy of the Work of My Will in all My Acts. Otherwise, no one could have come close to Me. My Majesty and the shining Light of My Divinity would have eclipsed him and would just have floored him—all would have run away from Me. Who would have dared to cause Me the smallest Pain? But I Loved the creature and I came on earth not to show off My Divinity, but My Love. So I wanted to hide Myself inside the veil of My Humanity to get acquainted with man, to do what he did, reaching the point of letting him give Me Unheard-of Pains and even Death.
“The soul that unites with My Humanity in all her acts and pains, by wanting to find My Will and make It her own, breaks the veil of My Humanity, finding in My Acts the fruit, the Life, the Prodigies that My Humanity did within Me, and receiving all that I did within Me as her own Life. My Humanity will serve to help and guide her, showing her how to Live within It. In this way, I will still be on earth, continuing to be the veil hiding what My Will wants to do. But if creatures will look for Me without My Will, they will find only My veil, not the Life of My Will. They will not be able to produce the Prodigies that It Operated in the hiding place of My Humanity. It is always My Will that knows how to place inside the creature the Greatest Prodigies—the brightest Suns; Wonders never before seen—as if inside each of My Humanities on earth. But, alas, I search them and I cannot find them because no one, in Total Firmness, is looking for My Will.”
Then dear Jesus kept silent. I remained thinking of what He had just said, and I could really see how everything Jesus had done and suffered became Bearer of the Divine Volition. Then He continued: “My good daughter, it wasn’t only My Humanity that—though in a more special way—was hiding My Divinity and My Will; all created things and the very creatures are veils that hide Our Divinity and Our Adorable Will. Even Heaven is a veil that hides Our Immense Divinity, Our Firmness and Immutability; while the variety of stars hides the multiple effects that Our Immensity, Firmness and Immutability possess. O! If man could see Our Divinity revealed under that blue vault without the veil of that blue that covers Us and hides Us, his littleness would remain crushed under Our Majesty. He would walk trembling, feeling continuously upon him the gaze of a Pure, Holy, Strong and Powerful God. But since We Love man, We veil Ourselves, lending Ourselves secretly to all that is needed.
“The sun is the veil that hides Our Shining Majesty—We must perform a miracle to restrain Our Uncreated Light so as not to scare the creature. Veiled by this light Created by us, We approach the creature, kissing her and warming her; We lay this veil of light even under her steps—on the right, on the left, under her head. We even fill her eye with light, and, who knows, maybe the frail pupil of her eye will recognize Us; but no, in vain—she takes only the veil of light that hides Us and We remain the unknown God in the middle of the creatures. What Pain! The wind, too, is a veil that hides Our Empire; the air is a veil, hiding Our Life that continuously gives to the creatures; the sea is a veil, that hides Our Purity, Our Refreshments and Divine Freshness—its murmuring hides Our continuous Love, and when We see We are not listened to, We even storm in huge waves so as to be recognized and loved. For every Good that man receives, Our Life is hidden inside, offering that Good to him.
“Our Divinity Loves man so much that It even hides inside the earth, making it firm and stable under his steps, not allowing him to vacillate. Even in the singing bird, in the flowered fields, in the various sweetnesses of the fruits—Our Joys, to make him taste the innocent delights of our Divine Being. And how much more could I tell you about the many Prodigies of Love by which We are veiled and hidden inside man? We veil Ourselves in the breathing, in the heartbeat, in the motion, in the memory, in the intellect, in the will; We veil Ourselves in the pupil of his eyes, in his word, in his love, and—O! how Painful it is not to be recognized or loved. We can say that We Live in him, We carry him and We let Ourselves be carried by him. He could do nothing without Us; but still, We live together without knowing each other. What Pain! If only he knew Us.
“The life of man was supposed to be the first, the Greatest Prodigy of Our Love and Omnipotence. We had only to offer him, from within its veils, Our Sanctity and Our Love, covering him with Our Beauty—making him enjoy Our Delights. But since he does not recognize Us, he keeps Us like the far away God—away from himself. If We are not recognized, We cannot give Our Goods to the blind. He is forced to live under the nightmare of his own miseries and passions. Poor man, who does not recognize Us, either in the veils that hide Us within him, or in the veils of each created thing; he just keeps running away from Our Life and from the scope for which he was Created; so, many times, when We cannot tolerate his ingratitude, the very Goods contained in Our veils are turned into chastisement for him. Therefore, do recognize that you are nothing other than a veil hiding your Creator, in order for you to receive, and for Us to administer, Our Divine Life in all your acts. Recognize It in the veils of all created things, so that all may help you to receive a Good so Great.”
After this, I was doing my round in the Acts of the Divine Volition. How many Surprises in this Will, so Holy. It is this Will that most awaits the creature, keeping her aware of all Its Works, letting her know how much It Loves her, and offering her everything It does. It fidgets to give without ceasing, and It is content with a little “I love You” from the creature in return.
Then I arrived at the Conception of My Mother and Queen: how many wonders! And My sweet Jesus continued: “My blessed daughter (Luisa), today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is the Most Beautiful Feast, the Greatest one for Us (God)—for Heaven and for earth. In the Act of Creating this Celestial Creature from nothing, We made such Prodigies and Wonders that the Heavens and the earth remained completely filled. We called everyone—nobody was put aside, so that all could be Reborn together with Her. It was the New Birth of everyone and everything.
“Our Divine Being overflowed so much that, in the Act of Her Conception, we put at Her Disposal Seas of Love, of Sanctity and Light, with which She could Love all, make Saints of all, and give Light to all. The Celestial Little One felt an innumerable population being Reborn in Her little Heart. And what did Our Paternal Goodness do? First, We donated Her to Ourselves, so that We could delight and court Her, and She could delight and court Us; then, We donated Her to every creature. O! How much She Loved Us, and Loved all—with such Intensity and Fullness that there is no point in which Her Love does not arise. The whole Creation—the sun, the wind, the sea, are filled with the Love of this Holy Creature, because they too felt Reborn with Her to New Glory. They even had the Great Glory of possessing their Queen, to the extent that when She prays to Us for the good of Her people with a Love that We cannot resist, she says: ‘Adorable Majesty, remember that You offered Me. I am Yours and I am theirs too; so, by right, You must grant what I ask.’”
The Divine Maternity
By Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI
Feast of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin
October 11, 1995
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
The feast of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was instituted by Pope Pius XI to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus, the third Ecumenical Council of the Church. How appropriate it was for this feast to be instituted on such an anniversary, for it was at the Council of Ephesus that the doctrine of the Divine Motherhood of Mary was defended against the heresy of Nestorius and his followers, who denied that there was one Divine Person in Christ with two natures, and in consequence of this denial, refused to recognize Mary by the title — Theotokos — Mother of God. For Nestorius and his followers falsely believed that in Christ there were two Persons — one divine and the other human, so that Mary was only the mother of the human person.
In our times, we may not find very many Nestorians, but there are many who call themselves Christians, but who deny to the Blessed Virgin Mary this title, Mother of God. Let us consider in this pastoral letter the Divine Maternity of Mary, in order to be able to better defend the Mother of Jesus Christ and to increase our esteem, love and devotion to her.
When we consider the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin, we must begin by a study of the Person of Jesus Christ. In the Nicene Creed which we recite every Sunday at Holy Mass, we profess our firm belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ:
“…And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God. Begotten not made; consubstantial with the Father….”
And this belief in Christ’s Divinity is firmly rooted in divine revelation. In Sacred Scripture, we find a multitude of passages which manifest the Divinity of Jesus. St. John the Evangelist tells us in the first Chapter of his Gospel:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh….” (John 1:1-14).
On this passage from St. John’s Gospel, St. Cyril of Alexandria, who staunchly defended the Faith at the Council of Ephesus, maintained in wonderful agreement with the Catholic Church:
“In no wise, therefore, is it lawful to divine the one Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons… For the Scripture does not say that the Word associated the person of a man with Himself, but that He was made flesh; that means nothing else but that He partook of flesh and blood, even as we do; wherefore, He made our body His own, and came forth man, born of a woman, at the same time without laying aside His Godhead, or His birth from the Father; for in assuming flesh He still remained what He was” (Mansi, 1.c.4. 891).
Furthermore, our Divine Lord Himself clearly claimed to be the Son of God, equal to the Father:
“I and the Father are One” (John 10:30).
“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am” (John 8:58).
To the questions put to Him by the High Priest, Caiphas:
“I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt. 26:63-64).
Jesus answered simply and emphatically,
“Thou hast said it.”
And St. Paul reiterates the same belief in his Epistle to the Philippians:
“Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who though He was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men and appearing in the form of man” (Phil. 2:5-8).
Thus, Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Lux Veritatis of December 25, 1931, which commemorated the 1500th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus, reiterated the Catholic Faith in this doctrine:
“For we are taught, by Holy Scripture and by Divine Tradition, that the Word of God the Father did not join Himself to a certain man already subsisting in himself, but that Christ the Word of God is one and the same, enjoying eternity in the bosom of the Father, and made man in time. For, indeed, that the Godhead and Manhood in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, are bound together by that wondrous union which is justly and deservedly called hypostatic, is luminously evident from the fact that in the Sacred Scriptures the same one Christ is not only called God and man, but it is also clearly declared that He works as God and also as man, and again that He dies as man and as God He arises from the dead. That is to say, He Who is conceived in the Virgin’s womb by the operation of the Holy Ghost, Who is born, Who lies in a manger, Who calls Himself the son of man, Who suffers and dies, fastened to the cross, is the very same Who, in a solemn and marvelous manner, is called by the Eternal Father ‘My beloved Son’ (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17), Who pardons sin by His divine authority (Matt. 9:2-6; Luke 5:20-24; 7:48; and elsewhere), and likewise by His own power recalls the sick to health (Matt. 8:3; Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13; John 9; and elsewhere). As all these things show clearly that in Christ there are two natures by which both divine and human works are performed, so do they bear witness no less clearly that the one Christ is at once both God and man because of that unity of person from which He is called ‘Theanthropos’ (God-Man).”
Having considered that Jesus Christ is one Divine Person with two natures, let us continue in the Nicene Creed. We profess that Jesus Christ “was incarnate by the Holy Ghost from the Virgin Mary.” This also is clearly found in Sacred Scriptures.
In the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaias predicted:
“Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel (God with us)” (Isaias 7:14).
In the Gospel of St. Luke, we find that the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary:
“Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bear a Son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus” (Luke 1:31).
“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
And further on in the same Gospel, St. Elizabeth, “filled with the Holy Ghost,” cried out to the Blessed Virgin:
“And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:44).
Not only do we find the reference for the Divine Maternity in Sacred Scripture, but also in Sacred Tradition. In the early Christian Church, there was no misunderstanding in the matter, for the early Fathers of the Church were very clear and firm on the Divine Motherhood of Mary.
In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Ignatius of Antioch (circa 110 A.D.) wrote:
“Our God Jesus Christ was born by Mary in her maternal womb.”
At another time, St. Ignatius wrote:
“There is only one Healer, composed at the same time of flesh and spirit, begotten and not-begotten… of God and of Mary, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
St. Irenaeus (202 A.D.) taught:
“This Christ, Who as the Word of the Father was with the Father… was born of a virgin.”
Tertuillian (220 A.D.) said:
“God is born in the womb of a mother.”
St. Athanasius (373 A.D.) taught:
“We confess that the Son of God became Man by the assumption of flesh from the virgin Mother of God.”
St. Gregory Nazianzen (circa 382 A.D.) declares:
“Let him who will not accept Mary as the Mother of God be excluded from God.”
These references from the early Fathers reflect the doctrine which was always held in the Catholic Church. And it was for this reason that when Nestorius had presented his false innovations, they were immediately rejected by the Catholic faithful of Constantinople. This rejection of the Nestorian heresy by the faithful manifests to us that even before Pope St. Celestine I and the Council of Ephesus formally deposed Nestorius from his See of Constantinople and condemned his errors, the faithful had already professed the true doctrine of the Divine Maternity of Mary.
All that has been quoted above from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition on the Person of Jesus Christ and the Divine Maternity of Mary, was neatly summarized by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Lux Veritatis:
“And, indeed, if the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary is God, assuredly she who bore Him is rightly and deservedly to be called the Mother of God. If there is only one Person in Christ, and this is Divine, without any doubt Mary ought to be called, by all, not the mother of Christ the man only, but Theotokos, or God-bearer. Let us all, therefore, venerate the tender Mother of God, whom her cousin Elizabeth saluted as ‘Mother of my Lord’ (Luke 1:43), who, in the words of Ignatius Martyr, brought forth God (Ad Ephes. 7:18-20); and from whom, as Tertullian professes, God was born; whom the Eternal Godhead has gifted with the fullness of grace and endowed with such great dignity.”
Let us never cease to honor the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, especially when we repeat that most ancient, simple and profound prayer of the Catholic Church to her — “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee… Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
In Christo Jesu et Maria Immaculata,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI