Mary, Mother of God

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J

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The devotion to Mary is one of the greatest treasures we Christians have. Unfortunately it can also be one of the greatest abominations; an abomination that surely must be an embarrassment to Mary. And surely something she does not want. The difference between being a treasure and being an abomination is one of understanding. If properly understood it is truly a great treasure not only for Catholics but for all Christians.

Understanding the devotion to Mary begins with the Trinity. The Christian God is a Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are only three Persons in the Trinity. Mary is not part of the Trinity, she is not divine. Mary is a creature. Even though she is redeemed in a very special way, by being preserved from all sin, she is not less redeemed.
She is the most perfect of all creatures but still a creature. And there is an infinite distance between the Creator and a creature. Insistence on Mary being a creature does not in any way detract from but only enhances our love and affection for her. It brings her closer to us. She is one of us.

If she is a creature how then can she be the Mother of God? The short, simple answer, in the form of a syllogism, goes like this: Mary is the mother of Jesus. Jesus is God. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God. This booklet is an attempt to explain that simple syllogism more fully and more definitively.

Mary does not offer us another, easier way to salvation as some seem to think. There is only one way: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Mary is simply the way to Jesus. Her last recorded words in the Gospel are, “Do whatever he tells you.” And this is exactly what the Father tells us at the Transfiguration, “This is my beloved son listen to

Historically Mary has been a cause of division but she should be a cause for unity because devotion to Mary is scriptural, based on the Word of God, which all Christians accept. Of course, there has been development in Marian dogma not by accretion, not by addition, but by growth, just as an acorn grows into an oak tree; all the DNA of the Marian dogmas is in the Scripture.

The devotion to Mary is one of the great treasures in my life. It was not always so. I was a Missouri Synod Lutheran and I found devotion to Mary to be a formidable obstacle to my becoming a Catholic. The resolution of these difficulties was long in coming. Prejudice is not easily eradicated. For years, even after my entrance into the Church, I did not feel comfortable with this devotion. When the light finally did break through the clouds it was bright and clear. And so simple! This is the will of Jesus! And this is what I want to share with you.



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