May is often celebrated as a month for Mary in the Catholic Church, which is fitting given the timing of Mother’s Day. I wanted to take this article to explain briefly what Catholics believe about Mary, as sometimes it may be misunderstood. Thank you for taking time to read this.
First, like all Christians, we believe that she is the mother of Jesus. But, we reserve a special title for her because of this, known as “Mother of God.” We say this because she was the earthly mother of Jesus, and we believe Jesus was fully divine as well as fully human. Jesus was God “incarnate,” which means He became human. He did this to show us the way back to God the Father. How does God have two titles, both Son and Father? Well, he is also the Holy Spirit as well, as we believe in the Trinity, but that’s a topic for another article.
Back to Mary, another thing that’s important about our beliefs regarding Mary is that we believe she was born without original sin. Like all Christians, we believe in the doctrine of original sin; basically, that all of us have been born with this innate desire to choose the things we should not choose. However, we believe Mary was pre-destined from all eternity to be exempt from this, as God Himself would take on her flesh when He became man. Therefore, her flesh should be pure and unstained by original sin. Also, if you were able to create your mother, wouldn’t you take special care to make her as perfect as possible? We all love our mother, and God no doubt loves His earthly mother immensely.
A third point I’d like to make about Mary is that we honor her as mother of all Christians. We derive this from Jesus’ last words on the cross when He tells John “behold your mother” and tells Mary “behold your son.” In that moment, John represents the entire church. As part of His last words, Jesus wanted to make sure we knew that we were to “take Mary into our home” as He instructed John to do. Like any disciple, if we want to follow Christ, having a relationship with Mary is an essential part.
There’s much more that can be said about Mary. In fact, there’s a whole field of study and theology devoted to her known as “Mariology.” But for this article, I hope this helps you understand why Catholics hold her in such high regard. I’d invite you to learn more about her, especially in this month when all mothers are honored. And I hope learning about her helps illustrate that life is messy but God is good. God chose to come into this broken world to save us and redeem us, and He chose one woman to help make that all possible, and be a mother to us all. God bless.