by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  October 11, 2017

Pope Pius XII: “Never has that hope wavered, which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King”

The maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, traditionally celebrated on October 11, was well established in the early Church and yields an authentic understanding of Christ’s divine personhood.

In his 1954 encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, Pope Pius XII urged Christians to have recourse to the Mother of God in overcoming the flood of evils assailing the modern world. “[N]ever has that hope wavered, which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world,” the Holy Father exhorted.

Although the feast exalting Mary’s maternity was extended to the universal liturgical calendar by Pope Pius XI in 1931, the faithful have been invoking Mary’s aid under the title Mother of God from time immemorial as shown by the Angelic Salutation. The Hail Mary, recited by the faithful in the Rosary, contains the phrase: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.”


Before the third century, the Fathers of the Church had already applied the Greek word Theotokos, meaning Godbearer, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because this term was disputed by the heretic Nestorius, the Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431 solemnly defined that Mary was rightly called the Mother of God.

Nestorius falsely claimed that Mary only gave birth to the human nature of Christ. The Church formally corrected this notion at Ephesus by asserting that Christ was a divine person from all eternity, who took on a human nature at His incarnation in Mary’s womb without loss of or alteration to His divine personhood. The same person, who was the Son of God the Father from all eternity, was the same person born of Mary.

On the Cross, Our Lord extended Mary’s maternity to all the human race when in John 19:26 He saidto her, “Woman, behold thy Son” and to St. John, “Behold thy mother.” Mary’s motherhood has the power to heal the misconception of motherhood today and in so doing, to heal the misunderstanding of fatherhood so prevalent in this day and age.

Watch the panel discuss the healing power of Mary’s motherhood in The Download—Maternity of Mary.


The dignity of motherhood.

October 11, 2017

The dignity of motherhood.

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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

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Mary’s prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father’s plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ’s conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his body (cf. Lk 1:38; Acts 1:14). In the faith of his humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance he had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made “full of grace” responds by offering her whole being: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” “Fiat”: this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God’s, because he is wholly ours. The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith. At Cana, the mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast (Jn 2:1-12); this is the sign of another feast – that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride. It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross (cf. Jn 19:25-27), that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true “Mother of all the living” (CCC: 2617-2618).