of Our Lord—Octave of Christmas
Solemnity of the Mother of God—AD 2008
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
historians of the liturgy tell us that centuries ago there were two different
Masses offered on this day; one in honor of the Circumcision of Our Lord on the
Octave Day of Christmas, and the other in honor of Mary, the Mother of God.
In modern times, these two Masses have been combined into one. This
combining is quite natural and quite fitting. Indeed, the whole Christmas
season—from December 24th until February 2nd—can be considered a sort of
“joint feast” of our Lord's Incarnation and Mary's Divine Motherhood.
Mary is continuously there with the Baby Jesus—in His birth; as He sheds
his first drops of blood in circumcision; as He receives His divinely
given name; as she presents Him to the shepherds and the Wise Men;
as she brings Him to the temple when the days of her purification are fulfilled.
it is always dangerous to deal in superlatives, we might be tempted to say that
this season and these Masses express some of the doctrines most central to our
speak of the Incarnation. The Son of God was not created—He existed long
before the first Christmas day. The Son existed with the Father from all
eternity, sharing the same Divine Nature, being as we say in the Creed, “of
one substance with the Father.” He would have existed with the Father,
in precisely the same way, even if mankind had no need of redemption, even if
Adam and Eve had never sinned, even if God had never created the universe.
As the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, He was one with God, a purely
because God did choose to create the universe, and because Adam and Eve left
mankind in need of redemption—and, quite possibly, because God knew that
mankind required tangible things to make an impression on it—things it could
see and touch and hold—God elected to unite human nature to His divinity.
Pope St. Leo the Great tells us that “it is equally dangerous to deny Him
the reality of a human nature or equality in glory with the Father.”
Our Lord is the Redeemer of the human race because He was one of us, and because
as God He could satisfy a debt that no mere man could ever repay.
the very next sentence, Pope St. Leo bids us “consider the mystery of Christ's
nativity, how He was born of a Virgin Mother.” The two are inseparable.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God ... and the Word
was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.” And
the Word dwelt amongst us because “the Virgin conceived and brought forth a
Son,” because she was “overshadowed by the power of the Most High,” and
because the Virgin gave her willing consent, “be it done to me according to
“Mary, ever Virgin,” she is called, for being free from Original Sin she
gave birth to our Lord without damage or pain. St. Jerome tells us
that “Jesus entered the world as He entered the upper room, «the doors being
closed. ..» «An enclosed garden, a fountain sealed» was Mary.”
Gospels speak of “the brethren” of Jesus, but only the foolish think that
these too are the biological children of Mary. They may have been related
to Mary or Joseph, perhaps uncles or cousins of our Lord, but the Gospels name
other people as their parents. It is the absolute and universal tradition
of Christianity that Mary did not give herself over to the generation of other
children; that she remains a Virgin to this day—under the protection of Saint Joseph,
and then Saint John while on this earth, and under the protection of her Divine
Son since her bodily Assumption into heaven. It is unthinkable that she
might have given her virginity up to Saint Joseph, for under the Jewish law that
would have made her unclean with respect to her first spouse—unthinkable for
such a thing would have made her unclean with respect to God Himself!
these are what we might call "core doctrines" of the Catholic Faith:
the Incarnation of Christ, and the Virgin Motherhood of Mary. Our very
salvation depends on belief in them, because they have been revealed to us by
God Himself. Not surprisingly, they are doctrines that have been under
attack by the devil ever since these events took place. They are under
attack, even by Christians, and even by people who would call themselves
"Catholics" in our modern world. As Pope St. Pius X
warned us, the Modernists would reduce all such doctrines to
"feelings" or opinions.
Some of them would even try to have us believe that there can be two different
truths; that these “core doctrines” can be true in Faith while being false
in history! What nonsense!
in this century, Msgr. Ronald Knox wrote a piece in defense of the Blessed
Mother against those Christians who refused to honor her as Mother of God.
I’ve read this to some of you before, but it bears repeating every six months
have said that we deify her; that is not because we exaggerate the eminence of
God's Mother, but because they belittle the eminence of God. A creature
miraculously preserved from sin by the indwelling power of the Holy Ghost --
that is to them a divine title, because that is all the claim their grudging
theologies will concede, often enough, to our Lord Himself. They refuse to
honor the God-bearing Woman because their Christ is only a God-bearing Man.
We who know that God could (if He would) annihilate every existing creature
without abating anything of His blessedness or His glory, are not afraid less
the honor done to His creature of perfect Womanhood should prejudice the honor
due to Him. Touchstone of truth in the ages of controversy, romance of the
medieval world, she has not lost with the rise of new devotions, any fragment of
her ancient glory. Other lights may glow and dim as the centuries pass,
she cannot suffer change; and when a Catholic ceases to honor her, he ceases to
be a Catholic.
only thing I can add is that when, in the way in which Monsignor Knox describes,
they cease to honor her Son—then they cease to be even Christians.