Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man

Father Tom ponders on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God …… Motherhood, meditation and modelling

Dear Friends

It seems such an obvious thing to say, but Mary is the Mother of God. It's obvious because we hear it said so many times in our lives yet astounding when we pause to think what it really means. "Bearer of God" was the very first title officially given to Mary by the Church several centuries after her death. A God who is so powerful that he could have chosen to come down to earth as some sort of spectacular phantasm, to arrive here with armies and cohorts, or at least to come here already grown as an adult, this God chose to become a baby that was carried by a young girl and nurtured in a primitive village of the Middle East. We honour Mary for being chosen, one of our own human race, to co-operate with God in this mysterious and mystifying reality. For she is the Mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God.

Yet she can't have been just any kind of girl. It must have taken a special personality to be attentive to what God was asking of her. Religious art traditionally depicts Mary in prayer when the angel announced she was to be the mother of Jesus. Just carrying Jesus for nine months wasn't enough. Mary had to enter in faith into God's plan, even though she didn't understand its full implications. And this meant that she had to be the sort of reflective person that is open and attentive to God's presence and voice. St Luke tells us that she pondered all these things in her heart. Her life of meditation must have thrown up so many strange and frightening questions. But in prayer she talked with God.

Mary is a model of our response in faith to God. She is the pattern of trust and surrender that is demanded of all those who are baptised into Christ's Church. One of the more recent titles given to the Virgin Mary was by Pope Paul VI who called her "Mother of the Church". For what she did to serve God in her life is what is demanded of each of us: to be attentive to what God is asking of us personally, to place our trust in God's powerful presence and grace, and then to find God in all the circumstances of our lives as we respond in Christ to the challenges that meet us daily.

With my prayers and best wishes,

Fr Tom