God the Father, Mary the mother, Jesus the Son

No, the headline is not a new formula for the Trinity.  Mary is a creature as are we.  But I use it to highlight a certain insight that coalesced in my mind while watching a program about Marian doctrines today.  I don’t believe any of this is necessarily new to me, but putting it together in this way is not something I can recall considering before.

Jesus as true God gets His divinity from the first person of the Trinity and as true man gets His entire humanity from His mother (of course our entire existence is God’s gracious gift).  Nothing new here for Christians (I hope).  Jesus is the fullness of divinity (He is no less God than the Father) and He is the fullness of humanity (He is just as human as His mother).  Now this last point needs to be one upon which we must expound.  To be fully human, as God desires, is to be without sin.  It is not “only human” to sin; rather, it is “inhumane” to sin.  When we sin we take away from our humanity.  This makes sense if our exemplar is Christ.  We are to emulate Him in His human fullness.  God created man for Him not for sin.  When our first parents sinned they died spiritually — human nature became fallen.  This was not the intent from the beginning.

So my key insight is that it follows then that the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s perpetual sinlessness make perfect sense.  Jesus, true God and perfect man, gets these attributes from His parents.  Mary, fully human in the Lord, provides this perfection to Jesus.  Mary is the true mother of the Son of God.  Women are not mothers to their children’s natures but rather they are mothers of a whole person — body and soul.  So it is with Mary.  Like with all conceptions, man supplies the body and God supplies the soul.  Mary is true mother — not of the Trinity — but of God (which is who Jesus is).

It is sad that the rift the Reformers began and which has since been substantially widened has become such a major force for disunity among Christians.  It is certainly not God’s will (“how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord* should come to me?” — Lk 1:43 … “behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed” — Lk 1:48) and what mother wants to see her children (““Behold your mother” — Jn 19:27) at odds (or worse)?

One last point: In our troubled times, in which marriage and family is under attack, why would some Christians not uphold this beautiful example of the importance of father and mother?  Ignoring, or worse, denigrating, Mary only strengthens the case of those who seek to tear down God’s plan for humanity.  As for God, yes, He made male and female and contains the ideals of the sexes.  But we lose out when we don’t acknowledge God as Father (yes, He is Creator, but Jesus refers to His “Father” often and tells us to call God “Our Father” — Mt 6:9 and see Lk 11:2) so it must be important, yes?

“Full of grace” (Lk 1:28), daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, spouse of the Spirit, pray for us.

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