In Celebration of Mary - Click on the + sign below to see more information
Blog by Marge Fenelon on Franciscan Media
First Saturday Devotion at the Catholic Shop
Fr. Cedric Pisegna - Mary, Mother of all believers
Happy New Year from the CNY Marian Center!
The following is from: Radio Vatican
Today’s Feast of Mary, the Mother of God is a very appropriate way to begin a new year. This celebration reminds us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is also our Heavenly Mother. Hence, our ideal motto for the New Year 2018 should be “Through Mary to Jesus!" This is an occasion to renew our devotion to Mary, who is also Mother of the Church because she is our spiritual mother — and we are the Church. In 1970, Pope Paul VI instituted the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In his encyclical on devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marialis Cultus, he wrote, "This celebration, assigned to Jan. 1 in conformity with the ancient liturgy of the city of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the holy Mother … through whom we were found worthy … to receive the Author of life.” The solemnity shows the relationship of Jesus to Mary. It’s a perfect example of how we should venerate Mary under all of her titles and is a good foundation for our understanding of Mary’s place in Christology. The Church puts the feast of this solemnity on the first day of the New Year to emphasize the importance of Mary’s role in the life of Christ and of the Church. It is also the Octave Day of Christmas so we welcome and venerate the birth of Christ at the beginning and honor Mary, His mother at the end of the Christmas Octave. We commemorate the various saints on different days of the year, but Mary is the most prominent of them all. She has a special role and mission given to her by God. As Mother of our Redeemer and of the redeemed, she reigns as Queen at the side of Christ the King. She is a powerful intercessor for all of our needs here on earth. In celebrating her special feast day, we acknowledge this great gift for the Church and world; we call on her to be actively involved in our daily life; we imitate her virtuous life as a great inspiration; and we cooperate with all the graces we get through her. The Church observes this day also as the World Day of Peace and invites us to pray specially for peace in the world.
Inspired by Pope St. John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical, Pacem in Terris, Pope Paul VI instituted this feast in 1967.
This is a very ancient feast, which used to be celebrated on October 11th. Today’s feast answers the question, “Why do Catholics honor Mary?” Non-Christians sometimes believe that we Catholics worship Mary as a goddess who gave birth to our God. Non-Catholic Christians argue that there is no Biblical basis for honoring Mary and that Catholics worship her and make her equal to God. They fail to understand why we honor Mary and name Churches and institutions after her. They do not understand what we mean by calling her the Mother of God. The truth is that we Catholics do not worship Mary as we worship, adore, God. We honor her, respect her, love her and seek her intercession, praying, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners." We do not, ever, equate her with God nor replace God with her. Rather, we honor her, primarily because God honored her by choosing her to become the Mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, when He took on our flesh and became Man.
We learn the great truth that Mary is the Mother of God from St. Luke’s Gospel, in the message given by the angel to Mary: “You are going to be the mother of a Son and you will call Him Jesus, and He will be called the Son of the Most High." Once she said yes, the Holy Spirit created in her womb the human nature that God the Son would assume. Since motherhood is of the person and not of the nature alone, and since Mary is the mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, then she is rightly called the Mother of God. After the angel had appeared to her and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth. At Mary's greeting Elizabeth said, "Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me?” [Lk 1:43]. The Holy Scriptures teach us that Jesus was both God and man. John writes: "The Word became flesh and lived among us" [Jn 1:14]. St. Paul refers to this event when he writes to the Galatians, “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman,” and as, "eternally begotten of the Father." So the Bible teaches that Mary was the mother of the God-Man Jesus, not in the sense that she gave birth to Jesus as God, but in the sense that the Baby she bore had the nature of God and the nature of Man.
The Doctrine of the Church
Based on these references in the New Testament and on the traditional belief of the early Church, the Council of Ephesus affirmed in AD 431 that Mary was truly the Mother of God (Theotokos), because "according to the flesh" she gave birth to Jesus, Who was truly God as well as truly man from the first moment of His conception by Mary. The Council defined Mary as the Mother of God both to honor her and to safeguard the dogma that Jesus Christ is not just truly God but also truly man. The Nestorians – followers of Nestorius, the 5th-century archbishop of Constantinople – taught that Christ was two in one: the man Jesus and the Divine Son of God. This view was condemned at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD), which insisted that Jesus is one Person with two natures, Divine and human. The most emphatic way they could say this was to affirm that Mary was not just the mother of the man Jesus, but that she was the mother of God. This was to say that Christ was one person, not two. The word used was Theotokos (Greek for “God-bearer”). The Council of Chalcedon (451 AD), continued the use of this term, and it has become orthodox Christian teaching. Note that it is more a statement about Christ than about Mary – or rather, equally so. Icons of the Theotokos are common now in the West. Twenty years later, in AD 451, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed the Divine Motherhood of Mary as a Dogma, an official doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church. Since Jesus is God, and Mary is his mother, she is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Messiah and the Mother of Christ, our Divine Savior. We also learn from the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition that God filled the mother of His only Son with all celestial graces, freed her at the moment of her conception from original sin through the future (prevenient) merits of the death of Jesus, allowed her to play an active role in the redemptive work of Jesus, and finally took her to Heaven, body and soul, after her death. As He was dying on the cross, Jesus gave us the precious gift of His own mother to be our Heavenly Mother.
Why Did Jesus Give us His Mother?
Jesus gave us his Mother so that she would be the Mother of all humanity. After having considered the role of the Virgin Mary in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit, we should think about her role in the mystery of the Church. We know that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and, consequently, the Mother of God. But she is also the Mother of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Because of this, the mission of Mary is totally inseparable from the mission of the Church. And it should be clearly stated that the role of Mary, as Mother of all humanity, in no way eclipses or diminishes Christ. On the contrary, her role can only help to clarify Christ’s role. This is one of the reasons God decided to share his Mother with us.
Many non-Catholic Christians really don't pay much attention at all to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We Catholics, on the other hand, recognize her as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. We know that Jesus took her up to Heaven, body and soul, as soon as her earthly mission was over. This is the Dogma of the Assumption, defined by the Church with an infallible papal definition. It makes sense that the woman who bore God in her womb should be borne by God into Heaven and not left in a grave to turn back into dust. In fact, in the Old Testament, the Queen of the Kingdom of Israel was always the Queen Mother. One of King Solomon's first acts when his father David gave him the throne was to raise his mother Bathsheba to his side, to be the royal Queen - a mini-Assumption. There was a practical reason for this tradition: Old Testament Kings used to marry more than one wife, but the King had only one Mother, so she became Queen. But there was also a deeper, prophetic meaning at work. God was already planning to send the Messiah through a Virgin, to involve a Mother intimately in the Redemption, just as a mother (Eve) had been involved intimately in the Fall (original sin). God did it that way on purpose. God gives his Mother a special place in the ongoing history of salvation because He wants to tell us something about His love for us. His love is faithful, strong and indestructible, because He is our Father. But it is also gentle, patient, and ever-present, always watching over us - like a Mother. Mary, our heavenly Queen and spiritual Mother, reminds us of this. (E-Priest).
Messages for Life