Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 23 September 3, 2011
Nativity of St. Mary Special Edition

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Mary Madonna
Oh ... Morth Mariam Yoldath Aloho (Mother of God) Pray for Us
Table of Contents
Editor's Note
In this special abridged edition of Malankara World Journal, we bring excerpts from the articles of prominent Church Fathers who have molded our Concept of St. Mary.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux discusses the appropriateness of the name "Mary" for the Mother of God. This is also a super devotional suitable for meditation.

St. Cyril of Alexandria was one of the early Church Fathers who has defended Mary as the Mother of God.  In the beginning of the fifth century, Nestorius, the archbishop of Constantinople, began to teach against the belief which is universally established by the Council of Nicea. He said Mary is not Mother of God or Mother of Man. According to him she is the Mother of Christ. By Christ he referred the unified person of Christ. His theory was questioned by the Universal Church, especially by Saint Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria. Saint Cyril argued and proved from the scripture that Mary is ever Virgin and she is the Theotokos (Mother of God). Finally the emperor Theodosius convened the Council of Ephesus in 431. The Council declined the theory of Nestorius and reiterated that Mary is Ever Virgin and Theotokos. (Reference: 'Virgin Mary - In the Syrian Orthodox Faith' by Rev. Fr. Thomas Kora) The article, "In defense of Theotokas" is an excerpt from the historic homily given at the Council of Ephesus, June 22, 431 by St. Cyril of Alexandria.

St. Thomas Aquinas is famous for his devotions and prayers. We present a devotion called 'All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed' to round up this issue of Malankara World Journal.

More articles on Virgin Mary can be found in Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary.

The Name of Mary
by Bernard of Clairvaux

"And the virgin's name was Mary" (Lk 1:27). Let us also say a few words about this name, which means "star of the sea" and is most suitably fitting for a virgin mother. For she is most appropriately compared to a star, because, just as a star emits its rays without being corrupted, so the Virgin gave birth to her Son without any injury to her virginity. When the star emits its rays, this does not make it less bright, and neither does the Son diminish his Mother's virginal integrity. She, therefore, is that noble star risen from Jacob, whose ray gives light to the whole world, whose brightness both shines forth in the heavens and penetrates the depths. It lights up the earth and warms the spirit more than the body; it fosters virtues and dries up vices. Mary, I say, is the distinguished and bright shining star, necessarily lifted up above this great broad sea, gleaming with merits, giving light by her example.

Oh, if any of you recognizes that he is caught between storms and tempests, tossed about in the flood of this world, instead of walking on dry land, keep your eyes fixed on the glow of this star, unless you want to perish, overwhelmed by the tempest!

If the winds of temptations surge, if you run aground on the shoals of troubles, look to this star, call upon Mary!

If you are tossed by the winds of pride or ambition or detraction or jealousy, look to this star, call upon Mary!

If anger or greed or the allurements of the flesh dash against the boat of your mind, look to Mary!

And if you are troubled by the enormity of your sins, confused by the foulness of your conscience, terrified by the horror of the Judgment, so that you begin to be swallowed up by the pit of sadness, the abyss of despair, think of Mary!

In dangers, in straits, in perplexity, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her name be always in your mouth and in your heart, and, if you would ask for and obtain the help of her prayers, do not forget the example of how she lived.

If you follow her, you will not go astray. If you pray to her, you will not despair. If you think of her, you will not be lost. If you cling to her, you will not fall. If she protects you, you will not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is favorable to you, you will reach your goal. Thus you will experience personally how rightly it was spoken: "And the Virgin's name was Mary."

Source: Bernard of Clairvaux, Super missus est 2, 17; PL 183, 70-71

In Defense of the Theotókos
by St. Cyril of Alexandria

I see this joyful assembly of holy bishops who, at the invitation of the blessed Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, have gathered here with enthusiasm. And although I am sad, the presence of these holy Fathers fills me with joy. Among us is fulfilled the sweet words of the psalmist David: "Behold how good and sweet it is, brethren, to dwell together in unity."

Hail Mary Theotókos, venerable treasure of the whole world, star who never sets, crown of virginity, scepter of the orthodox law, indestructible Mother and Virgin, for the sake of the one who is called "blessed" in the holy Gospels, the one who "comes in the name of the Lord."

We hail you, who held in your virginal womb him whom the heavens cannot contain; it is you through whom the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored throughout the earth; through whom the heavens exult; through whom the angels and archangels rejoice; through whom the demons are put to flight; through whom the tempter, the devil, is cast down from heaven; through whom the fallen creature is raised up to heaven; through whom that all creation, once imprisoned by idolatry, has reached knowledge of the truth; through whom holy baptism has come to believers, with "oil of gladness"; through whom churches have been founded throughout the world; through whom nations are brought to repentance.

What more shall I say? It is through you the light of the only-begotten Son of God has shone "for those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death"; it is through you that the prophets proclaimed the future, that the apostles preach salvation to the nations, that the dead are raised and the kings reign, in the name of the Trinity.

Is there a single person who can worthily sing the praises of Mary? She is both mother and virgin. What a marvel! A marvel which overwhelms me! Who has ever heard it said that the builder was prevented from dwelling in the temple which he himself built? Should one criticize him who gave his servant the title of mother?

Thus the whole world rejoices. May it be given us to worship and adore the unity, to worship and adore the indivisible Trinity, by singing the praises of Mary ever virgin, that is the holy church, and those of her Son and immaculate Spouse, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.

Source: St. Cyril of Alexandria, homily given at the Council of Ephesus, June 22, 431.

"All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Blessed! Who is this blessed one Whom every age shall praise? And who spoke this prophetic word Of all the coming days? Mary, the Mother of our God, With soul inspired by grace; So in our hearts and on our lips Let her sweet praise have place.

O Virgin pure! O blessed one! We hail thee lovingly; Rejoicing while our lips fulfill Thy words of prophecy. And most we love in thy fair month To sing thy purity, And how the Mighty One hath done Such wonderous things to thee. And while we praise, and while we bless, Our hearts call out to thee, O Mary, Mother, for His sake Do thou our Mother be!

Virgin full of goodness, Mother of Mercy, I recommend to thee my body and my soul, my thoughts, my actions, my life, and my death. O my Queen! help me, and deliver me from all the snares of the devil; obtain for me the grace of loving my Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, with a true and perfect love, and after Him, O Mary, to love thee with all my heart and above all things. Amen.

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