Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk
29th May 2016
The Divine Motherhood of Mary by Dom Anscar Vonier O.S.B.
It is possible for us to make the distinction between Our
Lady's personal sanctity and Our Lady's divine motherhood.
Her Immaculate Conception, her absolute sinlessness, her
immense charity, may be considered as her personal sanctity.
She was already endowed with this personal sanctity when the
Archangel Gabriel approached her with his message of
infinite import: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with
thee; blessed art thou among women". Great as was Mary's
sanctity at that moment, the moment that preceded her divine
motherhood, there is nothing that could compel us to say
that such sanctity could not be granted by God to a human
being quite irrespective of the mystery of the divine
motherhood. God could grant the privilege of Immaculate
Conception and the privilege of absolute sinlessness in soul
and body to anyone born from Adam.
The angel's words have reference to Mary's actual state, the
spotless angel meets the spotless woman. In a memorable
passage of the Gospels we find this distinction between
Mary's divine motherhood and her personal sanctity made use
of by Christ Himself in order to enhance the importance of
personal sanctity. "A certain woman from the crowd, lifting
up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore
Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea
rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep
it" (Luke 11:27). This contrasting between the divine
motherhood and personal sanctity by the Son of God Himself
is, no doubt, one of the most telling things in the sacred
The most exalted spiritual marvel is, by the very laws of
the divine life, intimately connected with personal
sanctity. But nothing, on the other hand, would be less
justifiable than to read into Our Lord's words the least
depreciation of the worth of the divine motherhood, as such.
He emphasises the value of personal sanctity by means of the
highest created form of comparison, the divine motherhood.
It would be quite futile to ask ourselves the question
whether divine motherhood could be separated in practice
from personal sanctity; in other words, whether it is on the
whole possible for a creature to be the Mother of God, and
yet to be deprived of personal sanctity. No doubt, such a
thing implies a contradiction.
There is, however, one spiritual fact of absolute certainty:
The divine motherhood is the primary, the central fact in
Mary's election and predestination on the part of God. She
is not a saint to whom divine motherhood was bestowed as an
extra grace; she is the divine Mother to whom sanctity has
been granted as a necessary spiritual complement. Divine
motherhood is a grace, or rather, a spiritual marvel so
prodigious, so unique in its nature, that it must be
considered as the all overpowering spiritual factor in the
person who receives it. All other endowments of soul and
body in that ever-blessed person could not be anything
except a preparation for, and a sequel to, that great
mystery of divine life. So though we fail to see whether
sanctity of the highest degree is united with divine
motherhood through a necessary law of life, one thing we
cannot fail to see is this priority of the divine motherhood
in Mary's election; she is simply the Mother of God; such is
the definition of Mary.