Category Archives: motherhood

The Magnificent Dogma of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary- —

By Larry Peterson



The Third Ecumenical Council held by the Catholic Church took place in Ephesus in 431. The Council was called to refute the teaching being put forth by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius. He held that the Virgin Mary may only be called the Christotokos (Birth Giver of Christ) and not Theotokos (Mother of God).


This teaching was condemned and the Council confirmed that indeed, since it was God who was the Father, Mary was truly the Mother of God. This settled for all time the central mystery of the Catholic faith which is the Incarnation; Jesus Christ is one person with two natures; one divine and one human. This is a mystery we embrace and believe but will never fully understand.


Pope Pius XI, who had a profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin, honored her by creating a new feast day in her honor. In 1931, 1500 years after the Council of Ephesus had proclaimed that Our Blessed Lady was truly the Mother of  God; Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast Day of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This action not only reaffirmed the Council’s dogmatic proclamation that Mary is Theotokos, it also set October 11 into the Roman calendar as the day the feast was to be celebrated.


Since Vatican II’s changes were put in place the Feast Day of Divine Maternity has become somewhat overshadowed by the dogma of Mary’s “Perpetual Virginity”. But make no mistake, these two dogmatic pronouncements are eternally joined together and they are inseparable. October 11 is still an active feast in the 1962 Roman Missal which is used during the extraordinary celebration of the Mass.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 495: Mary’s Divine Motherhood;

Called in the Gospels, ‘the mother of Jesus,’ Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, “as the mother of my Lord.” In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly the ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos).


From the Catechism 496: Mary’s Virginity:

From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own…


Our Blessed Mother was a young, innocent woman of about 14 years of age when the Angel Gabriel came to her and announced to her what God wanted from her. What could have gone through her young mind as this was asked of her? She must have been so afraid. How could she have had any possible idea that she would be the New Eve who would give birth to the New Adam who, in turn, would save us all?


This mystery of faith is so profound. This young woman, in effect, was chosen by God Himself to be his spouse. Their child would be both God and Man. He would change the world forever.

Mary’s virginal motherhood sealed in perpetuity the truth of the Incarnation. She gave Christ the body He possessed. She gave Him the humanity that was part of Him. And all the time he was God…and she was His Mom. WOW!


Mother's Day–I Want It to be Over

by Larry Peterson

NB: Many people, young and old alike,  have a hard time on Mother’s Day because their mom is no longer with them. Some have fond, loving memories of their mom. That is wonderful. Others, depending on circumstances, have  memories that may be harsh and include abandonment or abuse. Then there might  be those who have very few memories.  Mother’s Day presents a mixed bag of emotions for many people. It certainly is not about flowers, hugs, and  kisses.  Many times it is about “what ifs” or “if only”.  What follows is about me because, when all is said and done,  if your mom is gone,  you emotionally experience this day alone, even within your own family.

So, Mother’s Day is here again and, I have to tell you, it is not my favorite day. I’m not trying to be a “party pooper” and I certainly have nothing against moms. Heck, my wife was a mom, my sister is a mom, I have grown children and my daughter is a mom and I have grandkids and I have nieces and nephews.  I know thousands of Moms. (And–I love you all.)  But, here is my dilemma.  I do not have a Mom nor do I have memories of one.  Don’t misunderstand, I did have a Mom just like everyone else, but she died 53 years ago. (She had leukemia and if you had leukemia 53 years ago you were “toast”.)  Anyway, for the first time in my life I am  admitting that  her death left me empty, very empty to this very day.
 We were kids when she died and  I was the oldest of the five.  For some reason, I have just fleeting memories of her. My sister remembers her and my brothers remember her, not much mind you, but a lot more than I do. They even remember little things, those special nuances that made her unique to each of them. Well, maybe not Johnny, he was only two years old,  but the others for sure.  I have been told that I was traumatized by her death and involuntarily blocked her out of my mind. Could that be true? Could that still be going on inside me?  Could I have been so stunned that my brain, in an attempt to protect me, covered up the memories with a deeply opaque veil? I do not know. What I do know is what is NOT there.

I have some pictures of her and I also have her high school yearbook. I have no recordings of her voice or moving pictures of her or anything like that.  It is strange to me but I try my best to NOT think of her. Amazingly, I have failed miserably at doing that every single day of my life since she died.  I do manage to shove those thoughts way back in my head every day but they never just “go away”.  The slightest thing triggers “mommy” thoughts in me, especially when I see a child (small or grown) being hugged by their mom. I always think how wonderful that must feel. I can’t even imagine it. How pathetic is that. I guess I am just a senior citizen stuck at age 15 when it comes to my mother.  (Damn–I cannot believe I am even writing this stuff.)

Okay now, I manage to stuff this “mom” stuff all year long and then, right after Valentine’s Day, the Mother’s Day cards hit the stores.  Avoidance for me becomes next to impossible.  The attacks increase unmercifully as the weeks go by and then the onslaught ensues. The past two weeks have been brutal as the print ads came out  and cut flowers appeared everywhere and the cakes are advertised and the restaurants offer deals and every other TV commercial is promoting “Mom” stuff—it  wears me out.  I want it to be over.

Sunday morning at Mass the priest will probably give a homily on motherhood focusing on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then he will ask all of the women who are moms to please stand.  Most women in the church will do so.  He will bestow a blessing on them remembering all the deceased moms too. Everyone will applaud the moms, living and dead. I will applaud also and my best wishes and prayers will go out to all Moms everywhere. I just won’t remember anything about my own mom. The truth of the matter is, inside my own personal world, I will be very  glad when Mother’s Day is over.