The meaning of the celebration
+ To honor Mary as the Theotokos, the Mother of God, is to celebrate the unique role that she played (and continues to play) in God’s plan of salvation.
+ The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God—the Octave Day of Christmas—also recalls the circumcision and naming of Jesus on the eighth day after his birth (see Luke 2:21).
+ Since 1968, the Church has also celebrated the World Day for Peace on January 1. In his Message for the first World Day of Peace, Blessed Pope Paul VI declared, “It is Our desire that, every year, this commemoration [of “The Day of Peace”] be repeated as a hope and as a promise… that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.”
For prayer and reflection
“She then, as mother of Christ, is the mother of our wisdom and justice, of our holiness and redemption. She is more our mother than the mother of our flesh. Our birth from her is better, for from her is born our holiness, our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification, our redemption.”—Saint Aelred of Rievaulx
On this day, the Church also remembers Saint Zdislava Berka. A wife and mother of four children—who suffered abuse at the hands of her husband—she founded a community of Dominican nuns near the family castle and provided for the needs of the poor. Later in her life she joined the Dominican Third Order. She died at Lembeck Castle (in the modern Czech Republic) on January 1, 1252, and was canonized in 1995. She is honored as a patron saint of Bohemia and of those in difficult marriages.
The Benedictine Sisters of Mother of God Monastery (Watertown, SD): www.watertownbenedictines.org
Carmelite Nuns of Mother of God Carmel (San Rafael, CA): www.motherofgodcarmel.org
Carmelite Nuns of the Carmel of Mother of God (Pewaukee, WI): www.pewaukeecarmel.com
Dominican Nuns of Mother of God Monastery (West Springfield, MA): www.vocationws.com
Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God (Ukrainian Catholic): www.facebook.com/MSMGNUNS
Poor Servants of the Mother of God: www.smgsisters.com
O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary
bestowed on the human race
the grace of eternal salvation,
grant, we pray,
that we may experience the intercession of her,
through whom we were found worthy
to receive the author of life,
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.