New Year Resolution?
The Church has chosen at the start of the calendar year to commemorate the solemnity of Mary Mother of God: Theotokos. For those schooled in the sacred sciences, the term will prompt recollection of the study of the early councils of the Church. These Councils (of which Ephesus was one) were understandably concerned with the person and identity of Jesus. In doing so, the Fathers affirmed Jesus as true God and true man through the adoption of the hypostatic union. This understanding of the true nature of Christ and his relationship with the Father, rendered the declaration of Our Blessed Mother as Theotokos both a natural and inevitable conclusion. For non-catholics, the recognition of Mary as mediatrix is seen as an erroneous distraction from the person of God himself and impliciter, an impediment to an effective relationship with Him.
Within our own Tradition, we recognise Our Blessed Mother as the first tabernacle and monstrance. As Pope Benedict XVI observed, it was her heart which the infant Christ heard. Likewise, it was she who first embraced Him. As in the nativity scene she held Christ in the fragile state of an infant; so too, from the foot of the cross she witnessed his mutilation only in the pieta to once more hold Him for the world to see. Like the passion, death and resurrection, the actions of Our Blessed Mother are not confined to history. She continues in her role as God Bearer, mediating for us, counselling us, supporting us. Her fiat was a 'yes' for all of eternity.
Her resolve was and is absolute and unconditional.
In her unceasing efforts to bear God to us, she time and again repeats the exhortation first uttered at the wedding at Cana: "Do whatever He tells you." (Jn 2:5). As we enter into the coming year, what greater ally might we call upon? In her dedication to bearing God to us, she is equally determined to bear us to Him.
In our present times, the arrival of the New Year is accompanied by resolutions which are understandable enough. Many will recognise the decision to abstain from alcohol, to go to the gym, to lose weight, to be more organised etc. Few go the distance; even with the added input of the personal trainer. In our lack of constancy, and fragility, we do well to remember the words of St Bernard of Clairvaux:
"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray.; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart...whilst she holds your hand, you cannot fall..."
De Maria numquam satis, indeed. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.