“O God, Who, by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary,
hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we
beseech Thee, that we may feel the benefit of her intercession for us,
through whom we have deserved to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Creátor Spíritus - Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest
This same day, January 1st, is known by a number of
titles: the Circumcision of our Lord, which took place according to God's
Law on the eighth day after His birth; it is also called the Octave day
of Christmas, completing its celebration, again, in eight days; it is the
Solemnity of the Mother of God, a relatively new name, but one fully
justified by the text of the Mass and Office celebrated today; and, of
course, it is also New Year's day, the beginning of the civil year.
Circumcision refers to the rite by which men were
marked as descendants of Abraham, and members of the Covenant that God made
with the Jewish people. Jesus was that descendant of Abraham who would
“rule on the throne of David forever.”
He was sent to the people of the Jews to be their Messiah—to deliver them
from the slavery and bondage of sin. We hear that in this ritual He
received the name “Jesus”—the name given to Him by God through the mission
of the Archangel Gabriel—the name which means “deliverer” or “savior.”
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their
The “octave day” is simply the eighth day, and reminds
us that in both the Old and New Covenants many important events were
accorded a week-long celebration. Christmas, Easter, the Ascension,
Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception, and a few others all have octaves.
The Solemnity of the Mother of God
was explained by Pope Saint Leo the Great in this morning's Divine Office.
That holy Pope tells us that:
Whosoever will keep truly and honor today's festival, he must
not think falsely of the Lord's Incarnation, nor contemptuously of the
Lord's Godhead. For just as there is danger, on the one hand, of denying the
truth of Christ's participation of our human nature, so is equal danger of
doing so in spite to the equality of His glory with the glory of the
Father. Wherefore, when we try to understand the mystery of Christ's
Birth, wherein He was born of the Virgin Mary, we must leave behind the
clouds of earthly imagination behind, and pierce the fog of human wisdom
with the enlightened eye of faith.
The authority on which we believe is the authority of God Himself; the
teaching which we follow is the teaching of God Himself.... “In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The
Same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without
Him was not anything made. “The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, and
we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father.”
Mary as mother of Jesus Christ, the
God-man, is equally the earthly mother of His human and divine natures.
This is not to say that she came before God in time, but simply that
she gave birth to a Son who is truly both God and man. God has truly
visited His people and become one of us.
Finally, we recognize the we begin
the new year of the civil calendar today. The custom is to wish one
another a “good year,” or a “happy new year.” The great preacher, Fr.
Goffine suggests that this is a good Christian custom, denoting the
charitable affection we have for our friends and neighbors. “Holy” and
“prosperous” probably ought to be part of that same greeting.
So today we extend our celebration
of Christmas, recall that our Lord shed His precious blood for the remission
of sins, and did these things through the woman who gave birth to Him as God
and man. These are indeed inducements to love one another, and to pray
for a good, happy, holy and prosperous new year for all who are of the
household of the Faith.