Θεοτόκος, Theotokos: Bearer (Mother) of God

Θεοτόκος, Theotokos: Bearer (Mother) of God December 31, 2019

We fly to thy Patronage, Theotokos, Mother of God

Theotokos, God-Bearer, Mother of God
A portion of the oldest-known text of a prayer to Mary appears in a papyrus fragment from around A.D. 250. It is in Greek, and calls Mary “Theotokos,” which means “bearer (mother) of God.” Catholics would know it from a Latin version called the “Sub tuum praesidium.” Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

January 1, as the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, gives birth to every Year of the Lord.

A line in today’s Gospel reading [Lk. 2:16-21] shows us Mary taking in the mysteries of her Son, Christ who is God.

“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

We celebrate “these things,” these mysteries, in the liturgy throughout the rest of the year.

Hence, we also can keep them, pondering them in our hearts.

The Gospel shows Mary doing so in Bethlehem after shepherds told her what an angel said of her Child.

Later, when Mary’s Child with his ongoing mysteries was twelve years old, the Gospel says again that “his mother kept all these things in her heart.”

This Mother’s heart wrapped and filled itself with the mystery of her Son.

Thus we see this Mother, Mary, as a woman of contemplation and prayer.

Whenever we open ourselves to the Gospel and the Eucharist, we take, hear, eat and drink the mysteries of Christ Lord and God.

The Gospel’s testimony about the Mother of God can inspire us to strive to be like her.

Like her, we can keep and ponder in our hearts the mysteries of her Son, God without beginning or end.

However he also became in time a man of flesh and blood born of woman.

In the Eucharist, we approach God in the same Body and Blood that Mary conceived and bore in mystery and joy…

… the same Body and Blood that Mary saw changing water into wine, bringing the mystery and light of faith to his disciples at a wedding…

… the same Body and Blood that Mary saw pierced and draining in the sorrowful mystery of the cross…

… the same Body and Blood that Mary saw in the mystery of new life risen from the dead and glorified.

The untold measure of God in the Gospel and the Eucharist is endlessly more than an earthly lifetime of pondering can begin to exhaust.

Nonetheless, we strive to celebrate it Sunday after Sunday or even daily.

After a week of celebrating Christmas, we begin the new year with the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.

At the end of time, Christ the Lord our God will come back.

Then he will make all things new in heaven and on earth.

May his saving mysteries live in the depths of our hearts as they have always lived in his Mother’s heart!

Turning to his mysteries over and again, let us work to ponder them, learn them, love them.

Let us mother them within us, so that they come to birth in the way we live this year.

Let every new year bring our poor, hungry hearts closer to new birth and everlasting life in God’s heart.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of God
Graphic by Fr. Stephanos

Dear Readers of “Turn. Love. Repeat.”
California where I reside had a new law go into effect on January 1, 2020. California Assembly Bill 5 forbids freelance writers, editors and photographers from providing more than 35 content submissions to a media organization per year unless the organization hires the freelancer as a salaried employee. Patheos is a media organization, and I am a freelancer. So now I must limit my posts to 35 per year, or 1 post about every 10 days. So as not to exceed my limit here at Patheos, I will post my “extra” pieces at my own blog, Monk Notes.


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