Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Solemnity of Mary, January 1, 2012

Today's Gospel reading from Luke chapter 2:

16 So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, 18 and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them.  19 As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.  20 And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.   21 When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.

The Solemnity of Mary is a very important feast in the calendar of the Church.  It is part of the Octave of Christmas.  It is the day Jesus was taken to the Temple, named, and circumsized (as St. Paul said in Gal. 4:4
"subject to the Law".) 

"In the encyclical Marialis Cultus (1974) Pope Paul VI states: "This celebration, assigned to January 1 in conformity with the ancient liturgy of the city of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the 'holy Mother . . . through whom we were found worthy . . . to receive the Author of life.' It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. For this reason . . . we have instituted the World Day of Peace, an observance that is gaining increasing support and is already bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many" (no. 5)." 

"The mystery of Mary's maternity is expressed in the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass: "Hail, holy Mother! The child to whom you gave birth is the King of heaven and earth for ever." This implies God's choice of her who is "full of grace" (Lk 1:28) as well as her voluntary consent: "Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk 1:38). The word "conceive" applies not only to the body but also to the spirit, as was stated by the Second Vatican Council: "The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the word of God in her heart and in her body . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer.... Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Lumen Gentium, nos. 53 and 56)."
[passages from "Mary, Mother of God" on the EWTN website]

"Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity."   -- St Therese of Lisieux

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