Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Circumcision, Octave of Christmas, Solemnity of the Mother of God—1 January A.D. 2018
Ave Maria!

Please pray for Alfie Evans, 19 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Britain.

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Veni Creátor Spíritus - Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest

“And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS,
which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb.”[1]


    During my lifetime (≈70 years) the name of this feast day, kept on January 1st has changed three times, without the text of the Mass changing at all.  At first it was designated as the feast of the Circumcision of our Lord, later as the Octave Day of Christmas, and more recently as the Solemnity of the Mother of God.

    You may recall that last week I pointed out that the Holy Family was careful to observe all the requirements of the Law of Moses, even though there were often reasons why they could claim exemption.  Yesterday’s Gospel—although it was not obvious—referred to the presentation of the firstborn male child in the Temple and the offering of sacrifice for the purification of the mother on the fortieth day after childbirth.  We will hear more about this on February 2nd, but it should be obvious that neither Jesus or Mary had done absolutely nothing to require “purification.”  Nonetheless, they observed the letter of the Law.

    Today we read that eight days after His birth the Christ Child was circumcised.  This goes back to a covenant God made with Abraham roughly 1,900 years before Christ.  Circumcision was a mark on the body, indicating that the one so marked was among the chosen descendants of Abraham—the family chosen by God to be His people on Earth.  You can read about it in Genesis_17: 6-13.[2]

    This was to be done on the eighth day after birth.  The child could be expected to lose a small amount of blood, and God knew that the eighth day would be optimal for that blood to clot.  Anyone who thinks that there is enmity between religion and science should consider that modern pediatric medicine has determined that a baby is born without the clotting factors in his blood—these factors increase for about a week, rising to about ten percent more than normal by the eighth day, and then dropping to normal thereafter.  The eighth day was the chosen day because God designed us that way—it took roughly four thousand years for modern science to make this discovery.[3]

    On the eighth day the child was named—or rather given the name already revealed to Mary and Joseph by God’s angel:  “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.”[4]  “And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS, For he shall save his people from their sins.”[5]

    By the time I was a teenager, this feast had come to be known as the Octave Day of Christmas.  In those days, many important feasts had “Octaves.”  For the lesser feasts, the Octave was simply a celebration on the eighth day.  The more important feasts were celebrated for eight continuous days—some by repeating the Mass eight times—others by adding elements from the feast (collects, Credo, and Preface) to each of the Masses on the eight days.  Easter and Pentecost had proper Masses for each of eight days, with readings intended to give a full understanding of the Resurrection and Descent of the Holy Ghost.

    The celebration of octaves made the feasts more impressive, but the obsession with shortening Mass times of the 1950s and 1960s has finally eliminated all of the Octaves except Christmas and Easter.

    Although Christmas retains its Octave, since the 1960s the Octave Day has been referred to the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.  There already was such a feast on October 11th each year, but moving it to January 1 was probably a worthwhile recognition of this all important dogma of the Christian Faith.

    Mary is the Mother of God—but let me immediately make it clear that we are talking about Motherhood in time and not Motherhood in eternity!  No one is claiming that Mary is a “goddess” who existed before creation, and gave birth to God Eternal!—No one!  To explain the Divine Motherhood, we must first recognize that Jesus Christ is both true God and true man.  As the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, He possessed the Divine nature from all eternity.  He acquired human nature by entering history and taking a human body and a human soul.  He is one Person, but one who possesses two natures.  In the Person of Jesus Christ, the divine and human nature are said to be “hypostatically united.”

    An hypóstasis (Greek: ὑπόστασις) is a sort of “substrate” or “foundation” upon which something is built.  The Son of Mary (human) and the Son of God (divine) are united on the same “substrate” that we know as Jesus Christ.

    If you had been at one of the events described in the Gospels and met Jesus Christ—say, for example, at the sermon on the mount, or at the multiplication of loaves, or whatever—you would have met God and man in the same Person.  Roughly thirty years earlier, that Person had been conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the “overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.”[6]  In the womb, that Person was the same Person that you would meet thirty years later.  He was both God and man throughout His entire life.

    When Mary brought forth the Person conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, Whom she had carried for nine months in her womb, she brought forth Jesus Christ—true God and true man—she had given Him all of His physical existence, and had carried God Himself in her womb.  Mary is truly: THE MOTHER of GOD!




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