Theotokos and Seat of Wisdom

Mary is known and called by many titles: Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady, Our Lady of the Rosary, the New Eve, Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Angels, Comforter of the Afflicted, Mary Most Holy, Blessed Virgin, even just Mother (to name a few). However, when I was in at church, the priest teaching, while praying, asked for Mary's intercession under a title I had heard once or twice before, but I had never really thought of: "Seat of Wisdom."

As I pondered this title, I realized that it is intrinsically tied to one of my favorite titles for Mary: Theotokos - the God Bearer or Mother of God. Now, some of my friends are likely curling their teeth back at this, so I say, please, read on. I shall explain.

The first recorded use of this title dates to the third century in Egypt, and much controversy erupted over this because the Egyptians called Isis the Mother of God. They proposed a compromise - call her the Christotokos, the Christ Bearer, the Mother of the Christ. Staunch believers took both sides, and this grew a bit explosive, so a council was called in 431 to discuss it. At the end of this council - the council of Ephesus - the bishops declared that it was a Christological statement to declare that Mary was the Mother of God for to say otherwise would be to divorce the God side from the human side of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was human, but He was also God. He was totally both. It was a matter of understanding Christ to understand Mary's relationship to Him. So, Mary was officially declared the Mother of God, and to say otherwise was to breathe heresy against the incarnation.

So, back to the Seat of Wisdom. What does this title mean? Does it mean that Mary is wisdom's origin? Well, no, obviously not. The scriptures speak very clearly about the origins of wisdom (though, admittedly, very poetically). However, we have the benefit of knowing that Wisdom walked among us - in the form of Christ. Jesus is Wisdom. So, when we say that Mary is the Seat of Wisdom, we say that Mary is the throne upon which Christ is glorified.

She glorified him in all of her life and in all of Christ's. She glorified Him by accepting Him, by bringing Him to her cousin, by reflecting all the glory to Him with her Magnificat. She glorified Him by presenting Him back to His Father when the time came though Christ had not made her unclean in His coming. She glorified Him by letting strangers - Simeon, Anna, the shepherds and wise men - come and see Him, her baby boy. She glorified Him by raising Him, teaching Him the prayers her mother taught her. She glorified Him by asking Him to start His ministry to help their friends and by looking at the servants and telling them to do whatever Jesus told them to. She glorified Him as she followed Him on His ministry, even unto the cross. And oh! How she glorified Him as she joined her sufferings with His, letting her heart be pierced as she walked with Him, unable to do anything to ease His sufferings. She begs us to come, approach Her Son, to adore Him at all stages of His life. And she thrones Him at different times and stages.

Her entire life was spent in dedication to Our Lord, and so He grants her the privileged of showing us how to enthrone Him in our lives. Each of us is called to be a temple, a place for the almighty to dwell, and we have the perfect image and model in Our Lady, the Seat of Wisdom.

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


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