Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yes, January 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation

Madonna of the Streets by Roberto Ferruzzi
On January 1st, we, the Catholic Church, celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God.  Why does this declaration make so many so uncomfortable?  Mary is the mother of Jesus.  We have declared what Jesus declared--that He is God.  His human mother, Mary, bore the God-man.  This solemnity, while a Marian Feast day, celebrates Christ's Godhead as well.  Every feast, every holy day, every title given to Mary is in honor of her Son.


495 Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord".144 In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).145  144 Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.
145 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.


The Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God
115. On New Year's Day, the octave day of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God. The divine and virginal motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular salvific event: for Our Lady it was the foretaste and cause of her extraordinary glory; for us it is a source of grace and salvation because "through her we have received the Author of life"(127).
The solemnity of the 1 January, an eminently Marian feast, presents an excellent opportunity for liturgical piety to encounter popular piety: the first celebrates this event in a manner proper to it; the second, when duly catechised, lends joy and happiness to the various expressions of praise offered to Our Lady on the birth of her divine Son, to deepen our understanding of many prayers, beginning with that which says: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners". [From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy]
We celebrate Mary's motherhood, Jesus Christ's Godhood, and the eternal connection between mother and Son. 

If you're Catholic, don't forget to go to Mass tomorrow.  If you're Christian of any other kind, think about Christ, His mother, and the message of peace on earth this day.

The Holy See shares the profound aspirations of man for peace. Since 1967, 1 January has been designated "world day for peace". [from sec. 117 of the Directory cited above]
Mary and the Christ Child by Raphael

Immaculate Mary, hymn whose author is unknown, using a traditional french tune:
Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing,
who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria, ave, ave Maria.

In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth, we thy children invoke thy fair name.
Ave, ave, ave Maria, ave, ave Maria.

Thy name is our power, thy virtues our light,
They love is our comfort, thy pleading our might.
Ave, ave, ave Maria, ave, ave Maria.

We pray for our mother, the Church upon earth;
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria, ave, ave Maria.


1 - Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing,
who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.

Refrain: Ave, Ave, Ave Maria, Ave, Ave Maria.

2 - In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth, we thy children invoke thy fair name.

3 - Thy name is our power, thy virtues our light,
Thy love is our comfort, thy pleading our might.

4 - We pray for our mother, the Church upon earth;
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth. - See more at: http://www.wf-f.org/SolemnityMary.html#sthash.j52u9gfT.dpuf

2 comments:

  1. According to the Traditional lectionary, January 1st is the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord, and is still celebrated as such where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated. Our local Traditional chapel will not be having Mass tomorrow, and my wife was called in to work, so we're going to the vigil for Our Lady tonight... providing the weather holds out (it's been snowing all day today up until about 90 minutes ago). So, the Good Lord willing, we'll be at Mass tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also found that many attribute the words of the song "Immaculate Mary" to Abbe Gaignet, but other sites state as you have too - that "no one really knows who wrote the words."

    ReplyDelete

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