Today, the twelfth day of our May Devotion to Mary, we arrive at a seeming controversial title in her Litany, which many Christian theologians encounter difficulty when trying to understand it – “Mother of our Creator.” For some, wouldn’t it be an exaggeration attributing this title to her? Is this not a way of placing the Blessed Virgin Mary above the Godhead when we refer to her as the Mother of the Creator? How could a simple creature be called the Mother of the Creator? This mystery also grappled the thoughts of St. John Henry Newman who once admitted that it appears confusing. Now, what does it mean to invoke our Blessed Mother as the Mother of our Creator? Does it mean that she is greater than the Creator who created her? Does it place her above the powers of God, the Creator? What exactly is the Church trying to explain here?
The majestic title of our Blessed Lady, “Mother of our Creator” follows the same logic as “Mother of God” (Greek: “Theotokos”). Blessed Henry Newman affirms, “calling Mary the Mother of God is nothing more than professing faith in the solidarity of God who assumed our flesh in Mary’s womb, for our salvation.” Hence, it is a profession of faith in Jesus the Saviour. Mary could not be the Mother of just a part of Jesus Christ (his nature of man), for it would result in separating the natures of God and man in Christ since speak of only One Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). Therefore, if the Eternal Word can take flesh in Mary’s womb and be born as her Son, then She is his Mother. Now, if she is the Mother of Jesus who is God, how come is she also the Mother of the Creator?
First, by invoking Mary as the “Mother of our Creator,” we do not in any way intend to denote her as the Mother of God the Father nor Mother of the Holy Spirit. We understand that in the One Godhead, there are three distinct but united Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is pertinent to note that the work of creation was not the sole work of God the Father; however, the Son and the Holy Spirit participated in creation as well, and Scripture is very clear about this. Put differently, although the work of creation is attributed especially to God the Father, as we profess in the creeds of the faith (“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth”) – it is also a truth of faith that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are the unique and indivisible “principle” of creation. Sacred Scripture confirms this truth in different ways-first of all as regards the Son, the Word consubstantial with the Father. Some significant references are already present in the Old Testament, such as this eloquent verse of the Psalm: “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps 33:6). This statement becomes fully explicit in the New Testament, as in the Prologue of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God…all things were made through him, and without him, nothing was made…and the world was made through him” (Jn 1:1-2:10). Paul’s letters proclaim that everything was made “in Jesus Christ.” St. Paul speaks of “One Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Cor. 8:6). In the Letter to the Colossians, we read: “He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together” (Col 1:15-17). Therefore, if Mary is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ who also participated with the Father and the Holy Spirit in creation, then it cannot be denied that she is the Mother of the Creator. Of a truth, Mary is not the Mother of the Eternal Father or of the Holy Spirit; for they are not incarnate, only the Son, Christ Jesus is incarnate.
To invoke our Blessed Mother Mary as the “Mother of our Creator” is less of a compliment or praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but more of a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Creator who was incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Put differently, the Blessed Virgin Mary is a creature of God, but the mystery of the Incarnation made her the ‘Mother of the Creator.’ This does not mean she is greater than Jesus (the Creator) nor is she the source of His divine nature (for she is always His creature); but it lays bare and attests to the veracity of God the Son really taking flesh and being ‘born of a woman’ (Gal. 4:4). Hence, we can always invoke our Lady’s majestic title in her litany without fear of heresy. It is always good to remember that these Marian titles mostly point towards God.
Therefore, my dear friends in Christ, invoking our Lady as the “Mother of the Creator” is also a way of honouring her “fiat” through which the Almighty did great things for her by making her the Mother of His only begotten Son, who is also the Creator of all things. Let us continue to give honour to whom it is due, invoking her majestic title: “Mother of the Creator” with childlike confidence and trust in her maternal intercessions, since by adoption through Jesus Christ, we have also become her children.
Oh Mother the Creator, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?