Today’s feast, formerly known as The Circumcision of Jesus, was replaced by Pope Paul VI in 1974 as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The law prescribed by Moses in Genesis 17:12 asked that males be circumcised on the eighth day. Apparently, this has proven to be scientifically accurate as a safe day to be circumcised. The number eight, according the Kabala, also represents the infinite and supernatural, whereas the number seven represents the finite. So Jesus would have been presented to be circumcised on the eighth day at the temple, with an offering of two turtle doves, as Mary and Joseph were good, righteous, and law-abiding Jews.
Catholics give the title Mother of God to Mary. Historically, this title has not been without controversy. The controversy is one that stemmed from the nature of Christ’s divinity and its relationship to his human nature. Before the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Bishop of Constantinople, Nestorius, claimed that Mary gave birth to the person Christ and then later Christ was united to the Word of God. The Council of Ephesus declared in 431 that this was not doctrinally sound, and that Mary is more properly to be considered as the Mother of God (Theotokos in Greek).
“If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the holy virgin is the Theotokos (for according to the flesh she gave birth to the word of God become flesh by birth) let him be anathema.” (Basically, let him be excommunicated.)
Paragraph 6 of the Catechism, with softer language, expounds on this idea, saying that “she [Mary] has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church.” In this I feel we have an example of how Mary can serve as a model for us.
Mary’s Fiat, her yes to God’s plan, can serve as the perfect model of surrender. She said, “Let it be done unto me according to your will.” Anyone who has the temerity to say yes to an angel in her preteen years, raise divinity within the meager means of her poverty, and then bears the pain of watching her son be put to a humiliating death on a cross earns, for me, many titles.
This Christmas we celebrated the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. God was with Mary, and Mary, in bearing the Son of God, deserves the title Mother of God. On this eighth day of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary, we too can know the God with us, should we have faith, and in our individual ways, bear Christ into the world. I think questioning Mary as the Mother of God pales in relevance to questioning how we bear Christ into the world today with our surrender, with our Fiat.
May it be done unto us according to Your will.