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God’s gift with us: Weekly Message for 1-7-2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last week we opened the year with the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the astonishing title “Mother of God.”
The title dates back to the third century. Its related Greek term, Theotokos (“God-bearer”), won official approval at the Council of Ephesus in 431 and thus became the first Marian dogma.
The term was crucial. Nestorius, a bishop, believed that Mary should be called Christotokos (“Christ-bearer” or “Birth-giver of Christ”), claiming that she only bore Jesus’ human nature in her womb. His language implied that there were two separate persons (one human, one divine) in Jesus.
The title of Theotokos, on the other hand, affirmed that Jesus was one person in whom two natures are united.
God, in other words, stooped down and united our nature with his own. This shows the great dignity of human nature. We are special in God’s eyes.
This deep truth can encourage us and help lift our sights. We aren’t just consumers or numbers in a database. Rather, we are made in the image of the Almighty and we can rejoice in knowing that God himself shared our nature.
Christmas conjures up the idea of gift-giving. Yet Christmas itself reminds us that we already have the greatest gift – the Son of God coming as a Babe to be with us, as one of us.
Jesus’ coming into the world and sharing our struggles tells us that this world has its importance in God’s plans – and that we can do something worthwhile here with his grace.
To keep focused on the One who matters, you might find our Retreat Guide Christ Alone Is Enough helpful.
May it help launch a new year of graces!
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor