Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 10 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Damien de Veuster
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

A feast that ponders what Mary felt in the final days before Christ’s birth

HOLY,FAMILY,BETHLEHEM

Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/18/17

December 18 was a special day in the Church's calendar to contemplate this profound mystery.

Historically the Church, specifically the local church in Spain, celebrated a fascinating feast on December 18 called “The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” It can be traced back to the 7th century and was originally the feast of the Annunciation.

At that time special feast days during Lent were not allowed and so instead of transferring the feast of the Annunciation from March 25 to a random day during Easter, the Church decided to transfer it to the Advent season. The date of December 18 was picked and the feast remained focused on the mysteries surrounding the Annunciation for several centuries.

By the 17th century the regulations during Lent were relaxed and the Church saw it more fitting to celebrate the Annunciation in March than in December.

They transferred the feast back to its original date, but in Spain they kept December 18 as a special day dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Its celebration was even given an octave, making each day before Christmas a special day in honor of the Blessed Mother.

What she must have been feeling and thinking

Dom Gueranger explains how “the faithful were requested to consider, with devotion, what must have been the sentiments of the Holy Mother of God during the days immediately preceding her giving him birth. A new Feast was instituted, under the name of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin’s Delivery.”

Furthermore, Gueranger adds that a tradition arose surrounding this feast day where, “A High Mass is sung, at a very early hour, each morning during the Octave, at which all who are with child, whether rich or poor, consider it a duty to assist, that they may thus honor our Lady’s Maternity, and beg her blessing upon themselves.”


Rorate Mass

Read more:
The pre-dawn Advent Mass that hundreds of young people flock to

Pondering in her heart

The celebration of this feast is no longer on the universal calendar, but it does highlight an important historical reality. It invites the faithful to envision what it was like to be the Blessed Virgin Mary, about to give birth to the Savior of the world.

The feast heightens the anticipation of Christmas and makes the last few days of Advent unique opportunities to meditate on what Mary must have been pondering in her heart.




Read more:
The beauty of a forgotten Advent tradition

Tags:
AdventDevotions and FeastsPregnancy
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
3
OUR LADY OF FATIMA,SUN
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
4
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
5
CHURCH
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
7
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.