From Benedict XVI:
From Benedict XVI:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On 11 October 1962, 48 years ago, Pope John XXIII inaugurated Vatican Council II. At the time, on 11 October, the feast day of the Divine Motherhood of Mary was celebrated and, with this gesture, with this date, Pope John wished to entrust the whole Council into the motherly hands and maternal heart of Our Lady. We too begin on 11 October. We too wish to entrust this Synod, with all its problems, with all its challenges, with all its hopes, to the maternal heart of the Our Lady, the Mother of God.
Pius XI, introduced this feast day in 1931, 1,500 years after the Council of Ephesus , which had legitimated, for Mary, the title of Theotókos, Dei Genetrix. With this great word Dei Genetrix, Theotókos, the Council of Ephesus had summarized the entire doctrine of Christ, of Mary, the whole of the doctrine of redemption. So it would be worthwhile to reflect briefly, for a moment, on what was said during the Council of Ephesus, on what this day means. [October 11 was also the day, in 1943, that The Holy See gave the nihil obstat to Opus Dei as a phenomenon where lay faithful and ministerial priests have an equal vocation to sanctity by work in the secular world].
In reality, Theotókos is a courageous title. A woman is the Mother of God. One could say: how is this possible? God is eternal, he is the Creator. We are creatures, we are in time: how could a human being be the Mother of God, of the Eternal One, since we are all in time, we are all creatures? Therefore one can understand that there was some strong opposition, in part, to this term. The Nestorians used to say: one can speak about Christotókos, yes, but Theotókos no: Theós, God, is beyond, above the events of history. But the Council decided this, and thus enlightened the adventure of God, the greatness of what he has done for us. God did not remain in Himself: he came out of himself, He united himself so closely, so radically to this man, Jesus, that this man Jesus is God, and if we speak about Him, we can also speak always about God. Not only was a man born who had something to do with God, but in Him was born God on earth. God came from himself. But we could also say the opposite: God drew us to Himself, so that we are no longer outside of God, but we are within the intimate, the intimacy of God Himself.
Aristotelian philosophy, as we well know, tells us that between God and man there is only a non-reciprocal relationship. Man refers to God, but God, the Eternal, is in Himself, He does not change: He cannot have this relationship today and another relationship tomorrow. He is within Himself, He does not have ad extra relations. It is a very logical term, but it is also a word that makes us despair: so God himself has no relationship with me. With the Incarnation, with the event of the Theotókos, this radically changed, because God drew us into Himself and God in Himself is the relationship and allows us to participate in His interior relationship. Thus we are in His being Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are within His being in relationship, we are in relationship with Him and He truly created a relationship with us. At that moment, God wished to be born from woman and to remain Himself always: this is the great event. And thus we can understand the depth of the act of Pope John, who entrusted the Council, the Synodal Assembly to the central mystery, to the Mother of God who is drawn by the Lord into Himself, and thus all of us with Her.
The Council began with the icon of the Theotókos. Upon its closure, Pope Paul VI recognized Our Lady with the title of Mater Ecclesiae. And these two icons, which begin and end the Council, are intrinsically linked, and are, in the end, a single icon because Christ was not born like any other individual. He was born to create a body for Himself: He was born as John says in Chapter 12 of his Gospel to attract all to Him and in Him This quote: "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself," was a locution spoken to St. Josemaria Escriva on 8/7/31 explaining that it was not a "lifting up" from and out of the world, but a conversion of each into Christ Himself in the world. Benedict's "eschatology" has much to do with this]. He was born as it says in the Letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians to deliver the whole world. He was born as the firstborn of many brothers. He was born to unite the cosmos in Him, so that He is the Head of a great Body. Where Christ is born, the movement of recapitulation begins, the moment of the calling begins, of construction of his Body, of the
St Luke leads us to understand this in the parallel between the first chapter of his book and the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, which repeat the same mystery on two different levels. In the first chapter of the Gospel the Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and thus she gives birth, giving us the Son of God. In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Mary is in the midst of Jesus' disciples who are praying together, pleading with the cloud of the Holy Spirit. And thus from the believing Church, with Mary at its heart, is born the Church, the Body of Christ. This dual birth is the only birth of the Christus totus, of the Christ who embraces the world and all of us....