The Lifetime of the Mother of God

mater-deiA question has vexed Christian minds ever since the coming of Christ into the world. The Apostles themselves struggled with this question, as we can see in the pages of the New Testament. As we begin a new year, it is a question for us, too: Now that the New and eternal Covenant has been established, why does history continue as it did before?

Many of the early Christians assumed that the Lord would return in glory during their earthly lifetimes. But He did not. At the turning of the first millennium, many, many Christians thought history would end. But it did not. At the turning of the second millennium, most of us were worried about our computers. History did not end. It continues apace. Why?

y2kLet us recall the reality at the heart of history. Our First Parents were established in peace, happiness, and the prospect of everlasting friendship with God. They sinned, and history began at odds with the Creator: out of harmony, marred by evil.

Flight Into Egypt by Giotto
Flight Into Egypt by Giotto

In the fullness of time, the Creator became man and restored justice to the human race and to the world. Through Holy Baptism, we receive the justice of Christ and become friends of God and heirs of eternal life.

Why then do we continue to live on earth after having been baptized? Wouldn’t it make more sense for us to go straight to heaven? While we live on earth, we are prey to constant temptation, to discouragement, tests of faith, and all kinds of difficulties. We sin; we fall; we make mistakes all the time. Why does the good Lord leave us down here and let us get ourselves into all kinds of trouble? If He is such a loving Father, wouldn’t He take better care of us by removing us from the world—like a parent taking a child out of a bad school and finding a better one?

mater-sorrowsThis is a profound mystery, but the Lord gives us the lights by which to begin to understand. The pilgrim life of the Mother of God is such a light.

As we know, our Lady was conceived in the pure friendship of God. She did not need to be baptized, because she was originally conceived with the grace that Baptism gives the rest of us. We, too, would have been conceived in the pure friendship of God if Adam and Eve had not sinned.

But the Immaculate Conception was not the end of our Lady’s life; it was the BEGINNING. She was conceived in the love of God, yes. But from that moment on, her love for God grew.

She faced temptation; she never sinned. The Archangel Gabriel came to her and invited her to put herself entirely at God’s disposal by an all-encompassing act of faith. This required a huge amount of love for God, the love a woman has for her husband when she marries him. Our Lady did it.

Then, nine months later, Mary gave birth to the Creator, and she began to love Him even more. She spent the next 33 years learning to love God more and more with every passing day.

pentecost_with_maryThen she stood at the foot of the Cross and offered her Son to the Father as a perfect sacrifice of love. You would think that she would finally have been finished then, but, again, it was only the beginning.

On Easter Sunday, our Lady saw her Son risen from the dead, and she loved Him all the more. She saw Him ascend to heaven, and she loved God more. She received the Holy Spirit with the Apostles and loved God more.

Finally, when her pilgrim journey was over according to the divine plan, our Lady was assumed into heaven, into the fullness of joy and love. We do not know the exact year of Mary’s Assumption and Coronation, but obviously it was at least 46 years after her Immaculate Conception. Probably she lived on earth quite a few years more than that.

So, if we are wondering why God keeps us on earth for the span of years that He does, let us simply look to our Lady. She will teach us how to make good use of the time.

2 thoughts on “The Lifetime of the Mother of God

  1. If God had a mother he would not be God. God is a Spirit.

    Jesus Christ is the Word incarnate, fully God and fully man. Mary is the mother of the man Christ Jesus, His human nature. But this does not mean we can or should call her ‘Mary Mother of God’. Otherwise, who is the Father of God?

  2. You say yourself – “Jesus Christ is the Word Incarnate, fully God and fully man.”. You cannot separate Jesus into two separate parts. He is both FULLY God and man. You can’t separate the Divine from the human – He is both! Because of this we CAN say Mary is the Mother of God. She is the mother of Jesus! His Divinity allows us to acknowledge this title for her.

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