Mary, Mother of God?

As we count down the days to Christmas, in the midst of the busy-ness of our daily lives, let us take some time to also think about what it means when we say Mary, Mother of God.

Reminder: Advent Penitential service at Kristus Aman will be this coming Wednesday, 20 Dec 2017 after Mass at 7:30pm.

motherofgodMary, Mother of God (Theotokos)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has many titles given to her, and one of the most well-known one is Mary, Mother of God. From ancient times, the Blessed Virgin has been honoured by this title of Mother of God. To non- Catholic Christians, and to some Catholic newbies too, there seems to be a need to explain the rationale for the Catholic church to give her that title.

Firstly, she is the biological mother of Jesus – she carried him in her womb and 9 months later she gives birth to Him. Since we believe that Jesus is God, it follows logically that Mary is the earthly mother of God. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that she is older than God, rather she was mother to the divine person in the human form of Jesus. It is “God in the flesh” for Jesus was true God and true man.

Many argue that Mary carried only “the human nature” of God, but the divinity of Christ cannot be separated from his totality of a human being. One can say that Mary had a ”divine maternity”. The rationale for this title can be seen in the Annunciation where she was addressed by the angel Gabriel who foretold the divinity of the Child she was to bear – “ He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High... , His reign will have no end”.

If we can accept the notion that Mary is the Mother of God or Theotokos i.e Greek for bearer of God, then we can grow in our faith life. Being the “mother “ raises her to the status bestowed with many privileges, just as an earthly mother of a renowned personality can and will be approached for favours from her son. The close relationship between the Mother and God the Son provides channels of intercession for mere mortals like us who are beset with worries and problems. She has been quoted in lighter vein as “ the back door” to the Son.

One of her privileges is the power to intercede. Often, intercession is seen in our own earthly mothers - for speaking to school teachers for a lighter punishment, to speak to fathers who have been a little too harsh on the children, etc. A mother’s love sees beyond the sin committed by her child; she seeks help when helpless; she appeals; she is proactive when she foresees problems. We come to Mary in this exact role of hers, to seek protection, and in all dangers and needs. It is in her capacity of being an intercessor that her Son listened to her request at the wedding at Cana. She just said in answer to a problem “ Do as he tells you”, and they had the best wine. Her role has always been to point to her Son (hodigitria).


Our prayer to her in our veneration “ Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”. Mary is not the Mother of God the Father, nor the Mother of God the Holy Spirit; rather she is the Mother of God, the Son - Jesus Christ. By extension, she becomes the Mother of the Church too. She is totally and wholly united to her Son and the Father in the work of Salvation for the human race. Thus she is our Mother too.