Thought for the Day – 5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow
St Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centres of the Church. St John Lateran represents Rome, the See of Peter; St Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, the see presided over by Mark; St Peter’s, the See of Constantinople and St Mary’s, the See of Antioch, where Mary is believed to have spent most of her later life.
Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos! Theotokos!”
So often I wish we would take to the streets shouting the same, “Mother of God! Mother of God!”
“Jesus honoured her before all ages
and will honour her for all ages.
No one comes to Him,
nor even near Him,
no one is saved or sanctified,
if he too will not honour her.
This is the lot of angels and of men.”