Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Today, the universal Church celebrates the optional memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria. A pope during the 5th century, he is credited with the defining the role of the Blessed Mother within the faith. As a doctor of the Church, an individual recognized with having particular importance regarding matters of faith, Cyril was a key figure during the Council of Ephesus in 431. At the time there were great controversies centering around Jesus as the Christ.

When it comes to the Blessed Mother, Cyril was the first to use the term "Theotokos" to refer to her. Literally, the English translation is "God-bearer" meaning that Mary was the Mother of Jesus, who was both human and divine. This was a decreed doctrine of our faith at the Council.

Through his homilies and writings, Cyril consistently tried to show the love between Jesus and Mary. At the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus honored His mother by following her lead to aid the wedding couple in their dilemma. On the cross, Jesus seems to be concerned with His mother will be cared for over the pain He was enduring.

Perhaps we can use this feast day as another reminder to honor both our earthly and heavenly mothers.