Early Church Fathers

Mary, Our Mother

Stations Of The Cross

I recently attended a “Stations of the Cross” service at a Catholic Church. This is a drama in which parishioners act out Christ’s walk along the Via Dolorosa to the site of his crucifixion.

Via-Dolorosa - Copy 1

The Via Dolorosa (the “Way of Suffering”) in Old City Jerusalem. (Image source: famouswonders.com)

Often neglected in American Christianity is the fact that watching Christ’s violent and prolonged execution was the woman who carried him in her womb and raised him. Surprisingly, Mary’s suffering at Calvary was prophesied years before it happened.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” ~ Luke 2:34

The church at which I attended the service did a wonderful job of explaining and embracing the profound suffering of Mary during the Crucifixion of her son.

Single-Parent God?

I have often wondered why much of American Christianity has no mother figure. It’s paradoxical if you think about it. We go around emphasizing the importance of a male father and a female mother in every family, yet we accept that God gave us no mother. We frown upon single parenthood in society, yet we accept it in our Faith. Does that make any sense?

But did God actually leave us with no mother, or was she simply removed from the picture at some point in the 2,000 years since Christ ascended back to heaven? 

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother… and the disciple whom he loved [John]… he [Jesus] said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. ~ John 19:25-27

In this passage of Scripture, Jesus is not merely appointing someone to take care of his mother after his imminent death. Jesus is appointing a matriarch over the Christian flock. And it makes sense. I recently showed that Christ appointed Peter as the rock upon which Christ would build his church. That is, he appointed Peter to be the patriarch of Christianity. Where there is a patriarch, there must be a matriarch– and that matriarch is Mary. 

The Early Church

Today, many American Christians pay little attention to our Mother, Mary. This was not the case with the early church.

You are the vessel and tabernacle containing all mysteries. You know what the Patriarchs never knew; you have experienced what was never revealed to the Angels; you have heard what the Prophets never heard. In a word, all that was hidden from preceding generations was made known to you; even more, most of these wonders depended on you. ~ Gregory Thaumaturgus, written in 270 A.D.

We fly to your patronage, O holy Theotokos [“God bearer,” the Greek title of Mary]; despise not our petition in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O ever-glorious and blessed Virgin. ~ The Sub Tuum Praesidium, written in 300 A.D. at the latest. 

Holy Mary… make it your continual care to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, who lives and reigns for ever. ~ Augustine, written in 430 A.D. 

As American Christians, we rightly insist that the single-parent model is not God’s plan for the family. Perhaps we should consider that he never planned the single-parent model for the spiritual family either.

The Bible is always proven true.

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