Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Octave of Christmas,
Solemnity of the Mother of God—1 January A.D. 2016

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Veni Creator

    ”O God, by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary, Thou didst bestow upon the human race the rewards of eternal salvation;  grant, we beseech Thee, that we may feel the power of her intercession, who gave us the author of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever and ever.  Amen”[1]

    Just about as soon as Christianity became legal in the Empire, and it became possible to discuss theology openly without fear of persecution, there arose debates about the exact nature of our Lord Jesus Christ and His relationship to His blessed Mother.

    Our Lord was, after all, a very unique Individual.  It was only natural for people to ask such questions as:  “Was He human; Was He divine; was He both?”  “Did He have a human will independent of His divine will?”  “Did He have a human soul?”  “Was He created by God the Father, or did He exist with Him from eternity?”  “How did He relate to the Holy Ghost?”  “If Mary was His mother, was she the mother of His divinity as well as the mother of His humanity?”

    It took some time for all of these questions to be raised, and it took longer still for the Church to formulate answers to them.   The Church is guided in its answers by the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Ghost works through men.  And men take time to express the complex concepts of such great importance.  And often, the explanations we receive from bishops and theologians are phrased in complex language—not the sort of thing that the average “man on the street” can easily read and understand.

    In order to make the essential information about our Lord available to everyone, the Church builds concise bits of information into Her liturgy.  Over the period of the liturgical year, we are exposed to the major teachings of the Church about our Lord and Lady—and in a relatively “painless” way.  For example, during the Advent season we heard how the Virgin named Mary gave her consent and the Holy Ghost came upon her, and she was overshadowed by the Most High, and that the Holy to be born of her would be called the Son of God.[2]  We saw that the man to whom she was betrothed was likewise assured;  that Mary was a holy and chaste woman, that the child would be conceived by the Holy Ghost, and that His name was to be Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.[3]

    At Christmas we were assured that this Son of God was indeed born of the Virgin Mary, and that the Angels of heaven came to testify to the event.[4]   At the third Mass we read the Gospel we are so used to hearing as the “Last Gospel,” telling us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us,” and that the Word was from the beginning, was with God and was God, and that “All things were made through Him.”[5]    He is not a creature, but the eternal God Himself.  Today we are again assured that this eternal Word actually took human flesh, we see him shed the first drops of His Precious Blood in the Abrahamic ritual of circumcision, and we hear that He was given the name of Jesus as prophesied by the Angel.[6]

    In the Collect today, we are reminded that “the rewards of eternal salvation” come to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary, without whom there would have been no Incarnation and no Redemption.  It was she who gave us the “author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ,” the Son of God.

    Throughout the Divine Office today, we are reminded that Mary is the Mother of God;  that, by virtue of His Incarnation, Mary carried for nine months in her womb, and brought forth on Christmas day, the One who is both true God and true man.  At Matins this morning we read a sermon of Pope Saint Leo the Great, in which we were told (about our Lord) “that it is equally dangerous to deny Him the reality of a human nature or equality in glory with the Father.  [W]e proceed to consider the mystery of Christ's birth, how He was born of a Virgin Mother.”[7]

    It is an article of our Faith, attested to by the Councils of the Church, the universal testimony of the Fathers, and repeatedly incorporated in the Liturgy, that Mary is the Mother of God.  Obviously, this dogma does not claim that Mary somehow existed before God;  she is not His mother in the sense of being the source of the divinity.  But it does mean that the divine and human natures of our Lord were joined in such a way as to make them inseparable;  that Mary carried and gave birth to the whole Christ.  To deny the Divine Motherhood of Mary is to deny the divinity of Christ.

    Let me close by sharing with you just one more bit of the Church's testimony, the antiphon that will be read before and after our Lady's canticle, the Magnificat, at Vespers this evening:


Magnum hereditátis mystérium:

O great mystery of our inheritance!

The womb of her who knew not man has become the temple of God;

By taking flesh of her He was not defiled;

All nations shall come and say, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord.!”



[1]   Collect of the Mass.

[7]   Pope St. Leo the Great, sermon 7 “on the Birth of the Lord.”  Lessons iv, vi, and vi at Matins of January 1.





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