HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Today, Roman Catholics celebrate the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The honoring of Mary as the Mother of God can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431. Mother of God or in Greek Theotokos, is the highest title ever to be given to Mary. The Council taught that Jesus’ humanity and divinity could not be separated and therefore Mary rightly deserved the title Mother of God. Mary brought Jesus into the world and so she truly is God’s mother, since Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.
By the 7th century, January 1st was observed as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th century, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the feast honoring Mary; however in 1751, after a push in Portugal for an official feast day celebrating Mary’s divine maternity, Pope Benedict XIV allowed Portugal’s churches to devote a feast to Mary on the first Sunday in May. Eventually, the feast extended to other countries and in 1914 began to be observed on October 11. In 1931, Pope Pius XI extended the feast to the entire church and in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar and replaced it with the feast of the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, bringing Mary’s feast day back to the first day of the year.
Artwork by: Bartolome Esteban Murillo-Virgin and Child in Glory 1673
On this day, we are reminded of the role that the Blessed Virgin played in the plan of our salvation. Through the Holy Spirit, God the Father prepared Mary to be the dwelling place where His Son and His Spirit could dwell among men. Bearing Christ, she bore the fullness of the Godhead within her. Jesus’ birth was made possible by Mary’s fiat or sanctioning of God’s plan with her words, “Be it done to me according to thy word”. Calling Mary “Mother of God” is the highest honor we can give to her. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace”. New Year’s Day is also designated as the “World Day of Peace”.
A popular prayer for this is the famous Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
As we begin another year, we draw inspiration from the selfless love of the Theotokos, who never hesitated to do the will of God. And we trust in her prayers to God for us, that we might, as the years pass, become more like her. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Taken from the Benedictine Sisters of Florida:
10 Resolutions for a More Wholesome Life
- You shall not worry. It’s unproductive.
- You shall not be fearful. Most things we fear never happen anyway.
- You shall not cross bridges before you come to them.
- You shall only handle one problem at a time.
- You shall not take problems to bed. They make poor bedmates.
- You shall not borrow other people’s problems.
- You shall not try to relive yesterday. Focus on what is happening right now and be happy now!
- You shall be a good listener because some people do know more than you do.
- You shall not become bogged down by frustration, for 90 percent is rooted in self-pity.
- You shall count your blessings including the small ones.
This well-known artwork has been widely reproduced on Christmas cards, holy cards and other objects. The original was painted by Roberto Ferruzzi, who was a familiar sight in Italy during the final years of the Victorian era in 1897.
Although Ferruzzi called the painting “Madonnina,” it is better known today as “Madonna of the Streets.”
I hope you enjoyed “The Solemnity of Mary-Mother of God” post today!
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