IS MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD?
Among the many efforts to steer this columnist away from the Church of his adoption, is the following note that accompanied some literature favorable to the Nestorian "Church of the East and the Assyrians," claimed to be "the original Christian Church," and the answer thereto. "Dear Dr. Goldstein: Solely because it is my belief that both you and Dr. Ockenga are genuinely interested in the truth, do I herewith send to each of you the enclosed; so that when one day you appear before the Divine Redeemer in His Divine Court of Justice and He confronts you with the query, 'Why did you not follow the truth?' you will not say, 'I did not know.' Truly in Christ, Barsom J. Kashish, Roxbury."
Reply:---It is very kind of you to have regard for my spiritual welfare. You may rest assured, however, that I have no fear whatsoever of appearing "before the Divine Redeemer in His Court of Justice," as far as my affiliation with the Catholic Church is concerned, which is the fountain of Christian truth.
If your doctrinal and historical knowledge were equal to the Christian spirit expressed in your note, you would realize that the Church Christ our Lord established, was placed under the supreme, universal jurisdictional authority of Peter, to be exercised by his successors until the end of time. That authority is exercised today by Pope Pius XII. The credentials of the present occupant of the Chair of Peter are as historically reliable as are the credentials of President Harry S. Truman, as occupant of the Chair of President Washington.
The Catholic Church, into which I, by the grace of God, have been privileged to be incorporated, is Christ in the world, His Mystical Body. It is "the pillar and mainstay of truth," as St. Paul called it (1 Tim. 3:15). It is protected from liability to err in defining matters of faith and morals (St. John 14:16-17). Doctrinal error on the part of the Catholic Church would therefore be error on the part of Christ, Who is Truth Personified.
It is this Church, under the headship of Pope Celestine, that condemned and excommunicated Nestorius, the founder of your sect, in the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431), for teaching the heretical doctrine in the literature you sent me. In it the thousandth time refuted claim is set forth, that there are two persons joined together in Jesus, namely God the Son and the man Jesus; hence Mary is not rightly called "the Mother of God."
This issue is not new to me. It formed part of my study before going to the baptismal font, and since then. The answer to the claim of Nestorius, which I as a layman merely echo, is so simple than an open-minded study of it ought to cause you to realize the enormity of your ardent desire to pull me away from the Bark of Peter on to your raft.
When the Second Person of the Triune God took unto Himself a human body, the Catholic Church holds that he still remained one Person, Jesus by name. This Divine Person claimed, in His humanity, to be the Son of God, being found guilty of blasphemy by the Sanhedrin for so declaring. Your Church disregards this fact, and throws verbal stones at this God-Man in its writings; as the Jews threw mineral stones at Him, when He claimed to have lived before Abraham, who died nearly 18 centuries before He became man.
The Catholic Church says, with infallible authority, that the Son of God is one Person, as I said before. This it was that enabled St. Paul to say, that "God sent His Son, born of woman under the Law" (Gal. 4:4); which is plainly a recognition that Mary is the Mother of God. To deny this hypostatic principle is to repudiate the declaration of St. John, that "the Word (God) was made flesh" (1:14). To deny this is to deny the incarnation, which is the Divine nature of God the Son, that existed from all eternity, united with human nature in time.
From this it follows that Mary is the Mother of God. This is analogous to saying that Mrs. Kashish is your mother. Yet, she only generated your body; your soul, the vital part of you, came from God. Mary is the Mother of God because she generated the human body of the Son of God by the power of the Holy Ghost. The declaration of the Angel, sent by God to Mary, that "the Holy One to be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" alone warrants the designation of Mary as the Mother of God.
The Nestorian claim in your literature, that Mary is "the Mother of the Lord, but not the Mother of God," is childish. It is a distinction without a difference. The term Lord, meaning God, appears in nearly six thousand Biblical texts. For instance, David refers to God as the Lord in 136 of his 150 Psalms.
The joy at the Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.), when the Nestorian heresies of your Church were condemned, was expressed in a Hymn of Praise, which was delivered by the great St. Cyril. It has been echoed in Catholic hearts ever since. Here are 7 of its 13 Hail Mary verses in praise of the "Mother of God":
(1)---Hail, O Mystical Trinity, Who has called us all together to this church of Mary, Mother of God.
(2)---Hail Mary, Mother of God. It is thanks to thee that the Shepherds chanted with the Angels, "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will."
(3)---Hail Mary, Mother of God, it is thanks to thee that the Baptist leaped in his mother's womb, and that the torch was lowered before the Light that never can be extinguished.
(4)---Hail Mary, Mother of God, it is from thee that has appeared the true Light, who says of Himself: I am the light of the world.
(5)---Hail Mary, Mother of God, it is thou who hast placed in this world its Creator and Redeemer, our guide to the Kingdom of Heaven.
(6)---Hail Mary, Mother of God, it is thou who didst give birth to the conqueror of death and Hell.
(7)---We salute thee, O treasure worthy of veneration that belongeth to all mankind. Crown of virginity. Sceptre of orthodoxy. Temple that never can be destroyed, we salute thee, Mary, Mother of God.
May the grace of God move you to join in Catholic appreciation of what this Hymn of Praise implies.