One of the most difficult points of faith for many Protestants is Mary as Mother of God in as much as giving her the honor that is due her in this regard. They may believe that she is the mother of Jesus, but feel that Catholics err greatly in honoring her as the Mother of God; in their eyes they see it as us taking away the honor that is due God alone.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. We do not worship Mary (or any of the saints for that matter), but honor her and seek her intercession. No one is closer to God than Mary and no one can obtain the graces we so desperately need from God the Father through Jesus, the Son of God. Mary herself would be appalled if we attempted to worship her, for worship rightly belongs to God alone. Mary wants only to point us and bring us closer to Jesus. At the wedding feast in Cana, she tells the wine stewards: "Whatever He tells you; do it!" She tells us the same thing.
Today is the feast of St Cyril of Alexandria. He is an early Church Father and Doctor of the Church. He lived in the 5th century and was bishop of Alexandria for 32 years. During this time he defended the orthodoxy of the Catholic faith against the heresies of Nestorius who looked to strip the Blessed Virgin of her Divine Motherhood and thereby making Christ two separate entities: one divine and the other human. Cyril proclaimed Mary as Mother of God long before it became an official dogma of our faith. His feast is celebrated mainly in the eastern churches (June 9), but is also on the Roman calendar as well for today.
I always learn so much from reading the writings of the Church Fathers and Doctors. Their deep faith and insight always edify me and deepen my own faith.
Here is an excerpt from Cyril's essay The Blessed Virgin Mary is Truly Theotokos, Mother of God.
"That anyone could doubt the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God fills me with astonishment. Surely she must be the Mother of God if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, and she gave birth to him! Our Lord's disciples may not have used those exact words, but they delivered to us the belief those words enshrine, and this has also been taught us by the holy fathers."
the bishop Cyril courageously taught
that Mary was the Mother of God.
May we who cherish this belief
receive salvation through the incarnation of Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
More on the life of St Cyril
Related post by Fr. Joseph Homick: Love Your Mother (don't miss this one!)
*excerpt and prayer courtesy of Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio at Crossroads Initiative