Who Is St. Mary?
Our patron saint, The Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, stands before us as an exemplar of faithful obedience. Her “be it to me according to your word” is the grace-filled response each of us is called to make to God, both personally and communally, as the Church, the body of Christ.
In defence of Christ’s true humanity, the early Church emphasized Jesus’ birth from Mary. He did not just ‘appear’ to be human; he did not descent from heaven in a ‘heavenly body,’ nor was when he was born did he simply ‘pass through’ his mother. Rather, Mary gave birth to her son of her substance. Jesus is fully human, because “he was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” In 451 a great council of the Church in Chalcedon agreed that Christ is “one with the Father according to his divinity and one with us according to his humanity.”
The early church emphasized Mary’s conceiving as a virgin of Jesus. According to early Church leaders, his conception by the Holy Spirit testifies to Christ’s divine origin and divine identity. The One born of Mary is the eternal Son of God. As the Apostle’s Creed confesses: “Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.”
Mary’s title as “God-bearer” or as in the Greek “Theotokos” formally came into being to help clarify and safeguard the understanding that Jesus is one person, both fully human and fully God. Because Jesus has been understood to be “true God from true God,” as the Council of Nicaea declared, the churches concluded that his mother, Mary, can rightly be called the “God-bearer.”
Mary in the communion of saints, exercises a distinctive ministry of assisting others through her active prayer. All are drawn to the mother of Christ, a figure of tenderness and compassion.
The motherly role of Mary, first affirmed in the gospel accounts of her relationship to Jesus, has been developed in a variety of ways. Christian believers acknowledge Mary to be the mother of God incarnate. Many Christians find that giving devotional expression to their appreciation for the ministry of Mary enriches their worship of God. May the mother of our Lord, and our Patron Saint be with you in your prayers.