Mary the Holy Mother of God


Theotokos Panachranta. Mid-11th-century Kievan illumination from the Gertrude Psalter.

Mary, our Blessed Mother, was only a young girl when she learned that she was going to be an important part of God’s plan for the whole world.

Tradition tells us that Mary was three years old when her parents, Anne and Joachim, took her to the temple in Jerusalem so that she could be blessed. The blessing was a sign that she would love and serve God. Anne and Joachim raised Mary according to Jewish customs and they taught her always to believe and trust in God.

When Mary was a young woman, the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that God had chosen her to be the mother of his only Son. The angel said that God wanted Mary to name her son Jesus, and that he is holy because he is the Son of God. Mary said “yes” to God, even though she did not understand how all of this would happen. She said, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

We know that Mary’s son became the Savior of the world, and his work continues through the Church today. Long ago, the Holy Spirit guided our Church leaders to understand that Jesus is true God and true man. He is both divine and human. He is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus was also a child who grew up, and who eventually suffered death on the cross and rose from the dead. After much prayer and debate, our Church leaders said that Mary was not only the mother of Jesus. She was also the Mother of God, since Jesus is truly God. Our Church leaders gave Mary a special title: Theotokos. This is a Greek word that means “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.”

Long before our Church leaders officially declared Mary the Mother of God, her cousin Elizabeth knew what a special privilege Mary had been given. When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth called her “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43).

Mary is our greatest saint, and so we begin every year with a celebration in her honor. We also show our love and reverence for Mary on many other special days throughout the liturgical year. We call these special days Marian Feasts. There are also many popular devotions to Mary across the world, such as: Our Lady of Guadalupe; Mary, Undoer of Knots; Our Lady of Mercy; Immaculate Heart of Mary; and Our Lady of Good Health. We can pray to Mary, the Mother of God, every day. We can ask her to help us say “yes” to God’s plan for us. We can ask Mary to pray that we will follow Jesus in everything we say and do.

Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 6, chapters 4, 5

Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 4, chapter 12
Grade 5, chapter 13
The Story of Jesus, chapter 1
The Story of Our Church, unit 5