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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Pray for Us

Today is the feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria who fought the Nestorian heresy. Nestorius, the bishop of Constantinople (problems with bishop aren't a modern phenomena), demeaned the role of the Blessed Mother. He denied that she was the Mother of God claiming she was only the mother of Christ's humanity. Heretics serve a purpose in the Church, however, because they cause the doctrines they deny to be definitively stated. And, in fact, the Council of Ephesus in 431 addressed the heresy of Nestorius and his followers. Mary was named "Theotokos," Mother of God and those who denied it declared "anathema."

The devil hates Mary so much exactly because of her exalted role in God's plan. That a mere human, a lowly woman, could be the door through which the Creator of heaven and earth entered the world assaults Satan's great pride. And so he works hard to encourage men to deny Mary's role in salvation. He's done that bad job with many protestants who are so antagonistic toward Christ's mother they fairly drip with animosity. But can you imagine Jesus, the Word who articulated the command to honor parents, disrespecting his own mother? No! Jesus, our Savior, was humble enough to enter the world through the womb of Mary. Why would He not expect us to imitate His sublime humility by coming back to Him through Mary? That's why we seek her intercession. She represents the humble doorway that leads us directly to Christ. Mary, Theotokos, pray for us who have recourse to Thee. St. Cyril, defender of Mary, pray for us.

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