Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Theotokos

The Mother of God is a person of interest, since the beginning of Christianity. What was her role within the Church? What does her motherhood mean for us Christians? She is the New Eve. Without her, Jesus would not be able to be born in the world, in order for Him to save it and us. But what does she mean for the current feminist movement in the Church and outside of it? Following is an interesting exegesis of who the Mother of God is, given to us by Elisabeth Behr-Sigel:

‘According to the great ecclesial vision, Mary is not the “model” only for women, the prototype of submissive, passive, and oversweet femininity which women today are no longer able, no longer want, to identify themselves with. Mary is not a goddess either, a symbol of a feminist Christianity which is implicitly or explicitly opposed to a masculine Christianity centered on Jesus. This is what a certain type of recent feminism has proposed, but the roots of such a feminist Christianity go deeply into a very ancient paganism, often carried along by popular piety. According to the Orthodox understanding, Mary is fully human and represent all of humanity, the complete humanity which God, in his grace, wanted to freely associate with the realization of his loving plan. She is a sign, the anticipation of a human person entirely given to the Lord, the ultimate eschatological realization of man-anthropos. Walking ahead of us all, she accompanies us along the way which, ever since Easter morning and the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost, leads to the glorious Second Coming. There is no doubt a deep meaning in the fact that this whole and complete humanity carries the features of a woman, a mother. In Mary and with her, we are all called, men and women, to a “feminine” attitude of welcoming grace, of giving and offering ourselves so that the new man, the total Christ, totus Christus, can be born in the Spirit in each one of us and in all of us together in the Church.’[1]

[1] Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth, The Ministry of Women in the Church, (California, Oakwood Publications, 1991), p. 24. 

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