“Fragrant nectar of the Theotokos, precious Throne of the King of All. You pour forth fragrance O Virgin to Your servants, for You held God in your womb, fill us with all divine grace, therefore now, we all ever preach and glorify You as the true Mother of God” (Apolytikion of Panagia Giatrissa).
In 431 AD, the Council of Ephesus declared Mary, the Mother of God. It’s not a truth that declares that this creature existed before God and gave birth to God who then created the universe. No. This declaration speaks of the humanity and divinity of Christ, which could not be separated. It speaks of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who was dependent on human love, the love of a Virgin Mother.
On this octave of Christmas and the beginning of Anno Domini 2017, we celebrate with great solemnity Mary’s highest and most revered title: Theotokos, translated Mother of God.
Here’s a fun fact! Janus was the two-faced Roman God in which the month of January takes its name. She looked in opposite directions, towards death and life, forward and backward. She was the gateway to the new year. On this first day of the New Year, we look to Mary, the Mother of God, whom we affectionately address as the Gate of Heaven. As Christians, we look toward the future and reflect on the past with Mary as the guide of discipleship.
May she lead you to love the Lord Jesus in the same manner in which she lived her earthly life. May the Virgin Mary be the joy of every human heart in 2017. May the Prince of Peace reign in your lives and hearts to foster a world of love and joy.