Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.
Of all of the women who have ever lived, the mother of
Jesus is the most Renowned, the most Celebrated, Venerated and Honored.
Millions of newborn babies have been given her name, along with
countless Churches, Shrines, and Holy Places. The world's greatest musicians and artists have
lavished their considerable talents upon her with a prodigality unknown for any other woman in human history.
Try as the Worldly might, they cannot rid us of
her Holy Presence, a
Presence that always, truly and surely, gives us the Divine Presence that comes into our world
in her Son. She
is the Quintessential Mother. Throughout Christian History
it has become quite clear that those who seek Mary's Love
and Care find something that only a Holy
Mother can give.
She is First presented to us as a young
Jewish Maiden who devoutly goes to the Synagogue in Nazareth, there to fervently recite the
Psalms of David and pray her people's Prayers along with the other women of the town,
learning from her Religion about abandoning herself
over into the care of God.
All of a sudden one day the call to abandon herself to
God becomes extraordinarily immediate and real when she
is visited by
Gabriel, One of the Mightiest and Most
Glorious of the Archangels of God. Will she
assent to become (and strangely become!) the human mother
of God's Only Begotten Son, Gabriel asks?
"Yes", she declares, filled with
wonderment as to how this might be. And with her "Yes",
all of human history explodes. God shatters open His Creation
and becomes astonishingly and wondrously a part of it, taking on for all Eternity, our lowly
Human Flesh. Because of Mary's
"Yes" and from her Flesh and
Blood, God the Son becomes Incarnate.
We are, during these Holy Days of Christmastide,
celebrating the reality of her initial story. She will disappear
now until Good Friday when she will reappear again to
Suffer, and Dreadfully Suffer, at the
Death ofher only Child,
Jesus, having endured the fact that He gave
her away to be the mother of another, young Saint John,
and eventually gave her over to us to be our mother, too.
In the Council of Ephesus, held in the Year 431 A.D., Mary was
declared to be "The Mother of God", to make crystal clear her
Son's exact nature. Hence the origin of today's Holy Day Liturgy.
Artists, Musicians and Theologians have lavished their considerable skills upon
her. Old ladies and young men who Pray their Rosaries in the darkened corners of our
churches, wiser than all of the Professors of Theology at the World's Universities, have a message for us. They know, more than the learned ones, that taking
Mary seriously is the way to take her
Son seriously. When you draw near to Mary, like the Wise Men from the East did,
she presents you with her Son. And, just in case
you haven't noticed, when she appears to mortals such as us, she appears to
Shepherds and Children, not to Professors and Theologians.
If we believe in the Communion of Saints, as we profess whenever we recite the
Creed, then we believe in the Power of Intercessory
Prayer. And when we get into Intercessory Prayer, we eventually find ourselves with Mary,
Mediator Mary, who finds a way to get the most
Wretched and Abject of Sinners, the most
Degraded and Sin-covered Rejects among us, into the
Sacred Heart of her Son.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Holy Mother Mary I place myself in your hands, all that I have and all that I am are yours. Take me to your Son.
If you consider the fact that Mary's name is the name most given to girls all over the world, that countless churches
have been named after her and thereby placed under her Patronage, that
her Icon and her Statue have been produced in the
Hundreds of Millions, along with countless Holy Cards and Pictures, that
her Rosary has been produced in Countless Millions of
Numbers, you can understand that Archaeologists Thousands of Years hence, when they dig
up our artifacts, will declare that our Church must have been the most feminist and woman-oriented in all of human history.
Mary, in case you haven't heard, is mentioned, and mentioned with Honor and Reverence,
Thirty-Four Times in the Koran, Islam's most holy of books. If you travel to
Turkey, and particularly to Ephesus where she lived with Saint John
until her "going asleep in the Lord", you will hear the
Islamic Turkish people refer to her as "Mother Mary".
And so it is that you and I, who Love Mary so dearly and so
fervently, Peacefully Pray:
Holy Mary, mother of God, I place myself in your loving protection, asking you to pray for me, and in spite of
all my disfiguring and revolting sins, to take me to your Son, and place me in His Heart . . . and to be my help and my strength both
now and at the hour of my death.
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori . . .
Saint Alphonsus examines the words and phrases of the Hail Holy Queen. Having established the fact that all prayer leads to
Love of God and that Love of God prompts us to Pray, he further indicates that to invoke Mary is one of the best forms of
Prayer. His purpose here is to establish and confirm our confidence in the Mother of God.
The Circumcision of Jesus
The Circumcision - by TINTORETTO - from Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
And after eight days were accomplished, that the Child should be circumcised, His name was
called JESUS, which was called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. [Luke 2:21] (DRV)
Circumcision was the symbol of the Covenant between
God and Abraham and his seed, and took place on the Eighth
Day. Circumcision presumed that the person circumcised was a
Sinner. The Babe was now taking the
Sinner's place ------ something He was to do all through
His Life. Circumcision was a sign and token of membership in the
Body of Israel. Mere human birth did not bring a child into the Body of
God's chosen people. Another rite was required, as recorded in the Book of Genesis:
Again God said to Abraham: And thou therefore shalt keep My Covenant, and thy seed after thee
in their generations. This is My Covenant which you shall observe between Me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male kind of you
shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the Covenant between Me and
you. [Genesis 17:9-11] (DRV)
Circumcision in the Old Testament was a prefiguring
of Baptism in the New Testament. Both symbolize a renunciation of the
Flesh with its
Sins. The First was done by Wounding
of the Body; the Second, by
Cleansing the Soul. The
First incorporated the child into the Body of Israel; the
Second incorporates the child into the Body of the New Israel or the
Church. The term Circumcision was later used in the Scriptures
to reveal the Spiritual Significance of applying the
Cross to the Flesh through Self-discipline. Moses,
in the Book of Deuteronomy clearly spoke of circumcising the Heart.
Jeremiah also used the same expression. Saint Stephen, in his last address before being
killed, told his hearers that they were uncircumcised in
Heart and ears. By submitting to this rite, which He need not have
done because He was Sinless, the
Son of God-made-man satisfied the demands of His
nation, just as He was to keep all the other Hebrew regulations.
He kept the Passover;
He observed the Sabbath; He went up to the Feasts;
He obeyed the Old Law until the time came for
Him to fulfill it by realizing and spiritualizing its shadowy prefigurements
of God's dispensation.
In the Circumcision of the Divine
Child there was a dim suggestion and hint of Calvary, in the precious
Surrendering of Blood. The shadow of the
Cross was already hanging over a Child
Eight Days Old. He would have
Seven Blood-Sheddings of which this was the
First, the others being:
the Agony in the Garden,
the Crowning with Thorns,
the Way of the Cross,
the Crucifixion, and
the Piercing of His Heart.
But whenever there was an indication of Calvary, there was also some
sign of Glory; and it was at this moment when He
was anticipating Calvary by shedding
His Blood that the name of Jesus
was bestowed on Him.
A Child only Eight Days Old
was already beginning the Blood-Shedding that would fulfill
His Perfect Manhood. The Cradle was tinged with
Crimson, a token of Calvary. The
Precious Blood was beginning Its long pilgrimage.
Within an Octave of His Birth,
Christ Obeyed a Law
of which He Himself was the Author, a
Law which was to find its last application in Him.
There had been Sin in Human Blood, and now Blood was
already being poured out to do away with Sin. As the East catches at
sunset the colors of the West, so does the Circumcision reflect
Must He begin Redeeming
all at once? Cannot the Cross wait? There will be plenty of time for it. Coming straight
from the Father's Arms to the arms of His earthly
mother, He is carried in
her arms to His First
Calvary. Many Years Later
He will be taken from her arms again,
after the Bruising of the Flesh on the
Cross, when the Father's Work is done.
The number seven usually means
or completeness, as in seven days of the week.
God rested on the seventh day. The seven blood-sheddings
of Jesus signify
the fullness or completeness of our Redemption.