Mary Mother of God - Catholic Hythe
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel." (Isaiah 8:8-9).
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven;a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelations 12:1).
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (Luke 1:42, 43)
MOST PERFECT OF GOD'S CREATURES
For around two thousand years the Church has honoured the Virgin Mary. She is viewed as a model for all humans -- the model of what we are to become if we follow Christ. Mary was without sin for her entire life from the moment of her immaculate conception (to her parents Anna and Joachim) to her death and bodily assumption to heaven. She was unconditionally obedient to God. The tradition of the Church holds that Mary remained a virgin all her life. (For articles on the perpetual virginity of Mary see EWTN - HERE - and - Catechism - HERE)
MARY - THEOTOKOS - GOD BEARER
Mary is a model for all Christians as she was the first person to receive Jesus Christ. Mary bore Christ in her womb - now all humanity is called to the privilege of bearing God within them spiritually. The honour given to Mary also echoes our view of who Jesus is. From early times the Church called her Mother of God (in Greek 'Theotokos' which literally means 'God-Bearer')..........a title which implies that her Son was both fully man and fully God. As His mother, Mary bore in her womb Jesus' human nature; the One she bore in her womb was also the eternal God made flesh. The use of the term 'theotokos' was formally ratified as a fitting title for Mary at The Council of Ephesus in 431 AD - the 3rd Ecumenical Council of the Church.
MODEL OF PERFECT DISCIPLESHIP - ARK OF THE NEW COVENANT - BLESSED AMONG WOMEN
Her role in God's plan of salvation has been of unique importance and unsurpassed by any other human. She is therefore appropriately honoured as the first among the saints. The archangel Gabriel expressed this honour in his address to her: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" (Luke 1:28).These gospel words indicate that God had chosen to honour Mary. Her favoured status was confirmed when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. "When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary , the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:41 - 44). In his Gospel Luke also records the moment when inspired by the Holy Spirit Mary foresaw the honour that would be paid her throughout history: "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed" (Luke 1:48). In prayers to Mary we speak to her as Jesus' first disciple and the human being closest to Him. We ask her to intercede with her Son on our behalf. We ask for her protection and guidance as the Mother of the Church, We venerate (honour) her because of her excellence which far surpasses that of all the saints and angels....but we do not worship her, for worship belongs to God alone.
(The photo at the start of this article is of the statue in the Courtyard of Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, Hythe. Below is the icon of the Mother of Good Counsel, to be found inside the church.
WHY MARY IS CALLED OUR MOTHER
In chapter 19 of his gospel, St. John records that Mary appeared at the foot of the cross. Christ looks at St. John and at his mother and to Mary he says, "Woman, behold your son," while to St. John he says, "Behold your mother." John writes that from that day forward he took Mary into his own home regarding her as his mother. The historical Catholic teaching is that in this passage St. John is made a symbol for us all....all disciples of Christ are to regard Mary as their mother. Mary as our mother is also rooted in the belief that we are all members of Christ, and since Mary is Christ's mother, Mary is also our mother.
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Example of prayers to Mary said today and down the centuries
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
O, queen of heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.
For He whom thou didst merit to bear, Alleluia,
Hath arisen as He said, Alleluia. Pray for us to God, Alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia. For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.
JOIN CATHOLIC HYTHE IN PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM HERE...............