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Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Dear Parishioners,  

Marian feasts are always an opportunity for the Church to honor Christ through Mary, but the feast of Mary Mother of God affords us an even more explicit honoring of Christ.  

In the early church, no one doubted that Mary was the mother of Jesus. It was clear from scripture that that was the case. What people questioned was whether Jesus was God.  

One teacher who questioned this was an archbishop of Constantinople named Nestorius (386AD– 451AD). He taught that Jesus was not God, only that God dwelled in Jesus similar to how God dwells in us. This false understanding of Christ led Nestorius to revoke Mary’s title. She was the mother of Jesus, not God.  

This teaching caused such a stir that the Church called for a Council in Ephesus (431AD).  

At the council, Bishops and theologians debated with Nestorius and his followers about the nature of Christ. But it is what took place outside the council walls that is most interesting.  

The people of Ephesus caught wind of what they were debating at the council. They heard that if Nestorius got his way, they would never be able to call Mary the Mother of God. They knew that wasn’t right.  

So, the Ephesian people rose up and gathered outside the church where the council was being held. They prayed and kept watch until finally the council reached a verdict. Nestorius’ teachings were condemned, Jesus was proclaimed as truly God from the moment of his conception, and Mary can truly be called the Mother of God.   

When the council verdict was announced to the people, there was great celebration in the streets. Something they knew all along had been attacked, defended, and finally vindicated. 

Stories like this remind us that what we say about Mary affects what we believe of her Son. And the simple beliefs of the faithful are what ground the Church in the truth.  

God Bless,  

Fr. David  


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