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
“The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved.”—Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium
On this day, we also remember Blessed Marian Konopinski. A priest and the vicar-general of the archdiocese of Poznan, he was arrested in 1939 during the Nazi invastion of Poland. Imprisoned in the concentration camp at Dachau, he ministered to other prisoners, even as his health was ravaged by the medical experiments that were performed on him. He died at Dachau on January 1, 1943, and was beatified in 1999.
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.