Divine Maternity

The phrase “divine maternity” is really…cool…technically speaking.  It rolls off the tongue beautifully and lends an air of splendor to Our Lady.  It can be a confusing term, though.  There was a period where I didn’t really understand what it meant.  As I understand it now, it refers to Our Lady’s prerogative as the Mother of God.  Her divine maternity refers to her role as the Mother of the Divine Man.  All well and good.  But it can be somewhat confusing too.  After all, the phrase could very easily be understood to refer to the fact that her maternity is divine.  That is, that there is something about her that is divine.  And it can be argued that even that is true, to the extent that the order of grace renders her (and all of us) a daughter of God, adopted into the divine family.  But I don’t think that it what divine maternity is intended to convey.

All of this was brought home to me over the last week as I read the print version of this homily in the Catholic Standard and Times.  The CST is by no means a hack job of a Catholic newspaper.  Their authors and editors really do seem to attempt to put together one of the best Catholic weeklies in the country.  And our Cardinal is top-notch.  However, on page 23 of the print version of the linked homily, the title of the second part (it starts on page 8) is “Mary’s divinity ‘poured out upon the Church’.”  That’s quite a statement, and one that would make my in-laws bristle.  And rightly so.  But this title is only a condensation of the following sentence from the homily:

In accordance with the eternal plan of Providence, Mary’s divine motherhood is to be poured out upon the Church, as indicated by statements of Tradition, according to which Mary’s ‘motherhood’ of the Church is the reflection and extension of her motherhood of the Son of God” (Redemptoris Mater, 24).

What appears to have happened is that the editor has confused “Mary’s divine motherhood” with “Mary’s divinity”.  He seems to be confused by what is meant by the phrase “divine motherhood”.  What the homily states makes perfect sense.  If she is the Mother of the Son, she is also the Mother of his body, the Church.  But her divinity is not poured out upon the Church.  And to say so only confirms our separated brethren in their darkest suspicions about us.

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~ by Rob on May 10, 2009.

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