The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
1 January 2008
vigil celebration (31/12/07)
Holy Rosary Monastery
St. Ann’s, Port of Spain, Trinidad
In the Opening Prayer of this the Octave of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, we prayed:
God our Father,
may we always profit by the prayers
of the Virgin Mother Mary,
for you bring us life and salvation
through Jesus Christ her Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Deus, qui salutis aeternae, beatae Mariae
virginitate fecunda, humano
generi praemia praestitisti: tribue, quaesumus;
ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere
sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem
vitae suscipere, Dominum nostrum
Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: Qui tecum
vivit et regnat in unitate…
Since time immemorial the Church has so prayed on this Feast, which is “bookends” to the great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior celebrated just one week ago. We pray that Mary, the Mother of the Lord, will help us by her prayers. Her virginity bore fruit and gifted humanity with life, light and salvation. We ask God to allow Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our nature’s only boast, to continue to intercede for us. This is the right way to pray, to pray in the way we fit in to the great mystery of our salvation, as we fit in to God’s plan to restore our world to grace through His Son, born for us and for us given.
Never hesitate to ask Mary’s help; never cease asking her to plead for us before the Throne. Her “let it be done unto me according to thy word”, her fiat, is what is missing generally in our world today. Her love, her “yes” with all her heart, soul, mind and strength is so lacking in our everyday world. We need, our world needs to turn to Mary. She can inspire us by her example. She will take us by the hand and lead us to her Son. Mary, the Mother of the Church, will foster and nurture those vocations, especially to the priesthood, needed to bring Christ to a waiting world through the gift of the Eucharist. Mary will school us and our world in the ways of peace. Let us resolve as our one and only New Year’s Resolution (if you only have one your odds of keeping it just might be better!): to give ourselves once again and wholeheartedly to her, the Mother of our Lord!
In Jesus born of the Virgin Mary we are no longer slaves to sin and death; we are adoptive children of the Father, brothers and sisters of His only begotten Son through the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts. We need never dread the future or wonder about what tragedies might yet come. We are in God’s hands. Peace is ours in Christ. We live in him who fills the universe in all its parts. Fear and hatred have no place where Christ reigns supreme.
“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.”
Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, Jesus: O Wisdom, O Adonai, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Dawn from on High, O King of the Nations, O Emmanuel! The Holy Name, given today and so gladly spoken out by His Mother, who first heard that Name from the Archangel Gabriel! Jesus! Through the intercession of your Mother whom on the Cross you gave to us as our Mother too, Lord Jesus, help us bring this year to a good end and live the next one in your grace!
At the close of Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for this the 40th anniversary of the Papal Messages for the World Day of Peace, he invites “every man and woman to have a more lively sense of belonging to the one human family, and to strive to make human coexistence increasingly reflect this conviction (that we are all part of one human family), which is essential for the establishment of true and lasting peace.” He does so knowing that we “can trust in the intercession of Mary, who, as the Mother of the Son of God made flesh for the salvation of all humanity, is our common Mother.”
December 31st, January 1st: we conclude one calendar year and begin another in the beautiful words of the First Reading from the Book of Numbers, of the Aaronic blessing, taught by God Himself to Moses and by Moses to Aaron and his sons:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”