Council of Ephesus says, “We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect
God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead,
the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity,
one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a
union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this
understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God
the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took
from her” (Formula of Union, A.D. 431).
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the
Father's only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). God became like us, we are capacitated to now become,
by grace, like Him. We are being re-created in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Created in His Image and Likeness, sin
wounded us and we needed a Redeemer. In Christ Jesus, the likeness is restored. From antiquity/ancient
time, the early Christians reflected on a ‘mystery’ of the faith – how the Incarnation of Jesus Christ came
about through the free cooperation of this little Virgin of Nazareth and what it teaches us about God’s
loving plan of salvation and the meaning of holiness. Mary’s role in this plan has significance on so many
fronts. She is the model of holiness. One of the earliest titles attributed to her by the early Christians was
‘the Second Eve’. Whereas the first Eve said in pride ‘No,’ the early Church Fathers echoed, the Second
Eve said in humility ‘Yes’ and creation began anew in Jesus Christ. Mary is the ‘type’ of the Church and the
model for every Christian, called to say ‘Yes’ to God and thereby become holy. Being the mother of God
and our model for holiness let her children learn from her this holiness.
St. Gregory of Nyssa says, “What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining
through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure.
The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ‘we no longer know Christ according to the flesh’, but He
dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the
child Jesus is born in each of us.” Mary emptied of herself, in order to be filled with the very Life of God.
She was able to completely surrender herself in love, to Love. Her initial assent to the Angel Gabriel’s
announcement reveals the meaning of this Biblical word, ‘holy’. Holiness is not about looking pious. It is
about being selfless. In the original languages, the words in Holy Scripture which are translated into the
English word ‘holy’ mean set apart or consecrated to God’s service, given over to God and His worship. We
are called to be set apart for the living God, to be holy, in a world which has become immersed in sin,
betrayals, corruption, diseases, social and economic injustice, fear and selfishness. We are called to say
‘Yes’ to a relationship with Him. That call is not a one-time event but a continual invitation. Mary is a
model, a pattern, of this holiness to which we are all called into Christ and His Body, the Church.
The Lord has invited each of us into an intimate, personal, exchange of love with Him. Mary is a model to
imitate. She walked in holiness of life and points us along the path to Her Son. Each of us can say ‘Yes’ to
God, right now, wherever we are. Each of us can respond with our entire being, with a ‘Fiat’ (=Let it be
done) of surrendered love as she did. Conversion involves the exercise of our human freedom to choose
God and the fullness of his plan as revealed in Jesus Christ. As we lose ourselves in Him, we find ourselves
again, made new and completed. This holy exchange-our life for His-is the essence of the spiritual journey.
It is not about power but powerlessness. It is not about increase but decrease. It is not about becoming
greater but about becoming smaller. In short, true spirituality is about humility and surrender.