Sunday, January 1, 2023
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
The Octave Day of Christmas
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Luke 2:19
Today, January 1, we complete our octave celebration of Christmas Day. It’s an often overlooked liturgical fact that we celebrate Christmas Day for eight straight days. We do this also with Easter Day, which concludes with the great celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.
On this, the eighth day of the Octave of Christmas, we turn our focus to the unique and beautiful fact that God chose to enter our world through a human mother. Mary is called the “Mother of God” for the simple fact that her Son is God. She was not the mother of her Son’s flesh alone, nor the mother only of His human nature. This is because the Person of Jesus, the Son of God, is one Person. And that one Person took on flesh within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Though becoming the Mother of God was a pure gift from Heaven and not something that Mother Mary merited on her own, there was one particular quality that she had that made her uniquely qualified to fulfill this role. That quality was her immaculate nature.
First, Mother Mary was preserved from all sin when she was conceived within the womb of her mother, Saint Anne. This special grace was a grace that was imparted to her from the future life, death and resurrection of her Son. It was the grace of salvation, but God chose to take that gift of grace and transcend time to impart it to her at the moment of her conception, thus making her the perfect and pure instrument necessary to bring forth God into the world.
Second, Mother Mary remained faithful to this gift of grace throughout her life, never choosing to sin, never wavering, never turning from God. She remained immaculate throughout her life. Interestingly, it is this choice of hers, to forever remain obedient to the will of God in every way, that makes her more fully the Mother of God than the simple act of bearing Him within her womb. Her act of perfect unity with the will of God throughout her life makes her, also, the perfect mother of divine grace and mercy and perpetually the spiritual Mother of God, continually and perfectly bringing Him into our world.
Reflect, today, upon these most solemn mysteries of our faith. This eighth day of the Octave of Christmas is a solemn celebration, a celebration worthy of our pondering. The Scripture above reveals not only how our blessed Mother approached this mystery but also how we are to approach it. She “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Ponder these mysteries, also, in your own heart and allow the grace of this holy celebration to fill you with joy and gratitude.
Dearest Mother Mary, you were graced with a grace beyond any other. You were preserved from all sin and remained perfectly obedient to the will of God throughout your life. As a result, you became the perfect instrument of the Savior of the World by becoming His mother, the Mother of God. Pray for me that I may ponder this great mystery of our faith this day and ever more deeply rejoice in the incomprehensible beauty of your motherly soul. Mother Mary, the Mother of God, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.
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Daily Reflections on Divine Mercy: 365 Days with Saint Faustina begins January 1 with Reflection 1. As we prepare for this new year, we invite you to join us throughout the coming year to daily ponder God’s abundant Mercy. We also invite you to invite family and friends to join us on this journey! Invite them to join us by:
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