Exploring Our Faith Volume II: Mary theFirst Disciple Part I

 

One of the highest religious awards in Girl Scouts is the Mary the First Disciple Award. Mary is not only a great role model for young women, the Church holds her up as a role model for all of us. Growing up I knew there was something about Mary but what I exactly did not know.  I did not understand why we Catholics put so much emphasis on Mary.  I learned in the seminary that Mary was more important to understanding our Catholic faith than what I was giving her credit for.  Part of the reason why I had such trouble with Mary was that I was under the impression that people who were highly devoted to Mary were way too emotional and not very logical.  As I learned more and more about our Catholic faith the more I have come to understand that the Catholic Church’s teaching including her teaching on Mary is grounded in sound logic and not emotions.  For my next set of blogs, I will like to reflect on the role of Mary in salvation history and in the Church today.
 
In my opinion the first and most important title of our Blessed Mother is “Theotokos.”  The word “Theotokos” means God bearer or as more popularly translated “Mother of God.”  It may be hard for us to believe that there was actually debate in the early Church about to whether or not we could apply the title “Theotokos” to Mary.  The debate though was not so much about the role of Mary in the Incarnation but rather what exactly was the “Incarnation” how and to what extent did God and man become one?  There were some early in the Church who were led by a bishop named Nestorius who believed that there was no unity between “God part” of Jesus and the “human part” of Jesus.   Therefore according to Nestorius you could say that the “human part” of Jesus was born of Mary but not the “God part” of Jesus.  The Church rejected this disunity in Jesus because it would mean that God was using the “human part” of Jesus in a sense fake his own death for the “God part” of Jesus according to the Nestorian way of thinking would be unable to suffer and die.  The Church affirming that Mary was both the mother of the “God part” of Jesus  and the “human part” of Jesus by declaring her the “Theotokos” proclaimed that God really did join with man in such a way that it allowed God to die for us.  I hope that the above paragraph made some sense to you.  I know I could write for months on this subject and never explain it clearly.  The main point I was hoping you got from the preceding is that Marian titles help us come to a better understanding of who Jesus Christ is. 
 
Marian doctrine (what the Church teaches about Mary) because it helps us understand the mystery of the Incarnation must therefore be grounded in solid theology.  Scott Hahn in his book Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God goes one step more and declares that Marian doctrine helps us understand the mystery of the Trinity itself.
 

 

All Mariology, all Marian devotion,must begin with solid theology and firm creedal faith.  For all that Mary does, and all that she is, flows from her relationship with God and her correspondence to His divine plan.  She is His mother.  She is His spouse.  She is His daughter.  She is His handmaid.  We cannot begin to know her if we do not, first have clear notions about Him—about God, His providence, and His dealings with His people.
Mary had a unique relationship with God but it is one that we should imitate.  Now none of us can be exactly like Mary but we should look up to her in a similar way that children look up and try to imitate Albert Pujols.  For a kid today considers Albert Pujols the best in the game and desires to be just like him and we Christians should desire to be like Mary the best ever in the game of salvation (except for Jesus). 
 
Mary was first of all the daughter of God the Father.  She was a creature like you and me.  She had free will like you and me but she chose not to seek any glory other than that of being a child of God.  Her humbleness and childlike trust is something each one of us should imitate in our relationship with our Creator with our Heavenly Father. She was the mother of Jesus, she brought God literally to others.  We are called to bring Christ to others.  Mary was the spouse of the Holy Spirit in a way since it was through the Holy Spirit that she conceived the Son of God.  We are called to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to bring life into the world.  While it will not be as miraculous as Mary the more we open up to the Spirit the more life we will have within us. 
 
I pray that I have done some good with this first Mariology blog.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me @ tpastorius@hotmail.com (please put something about “Scouting Blog” in your subject heading so I do not delete it as spam.).