Happy New Year
Today is the beginning of a New Year, but it is also the day that the Catholic Church commemorates the role of Mary in the birth of Her Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This Day was until about 35 years ago, the day reserved for celebrating the Circumcision of Jesus, but Pope Paul VI changed it to make it a celebration of the divine maternity of Mary, as the Pope Explained:
In the revised arrangement of the Christmas season, we should all turn with one mind to the restored solemnity of the Mother of God. This feast was entered into the calendar in the liturgy of the city of Rome for the first day of January. The purpose of the celebration is to honor the role of Mary in the mystery of salvation and at the same time to sing the praises of the unique dignity thus coming to "the Holy Mother...through whom we have been given the gift of the Author of life." This same solemnity also offers an excellent opportunity to renew the adoration rightfully to be shown to the newborn Prince of Peace, as we once again hear the good tidings of great joy and pray to God, through the intercession of the Queen of Peace, for the priceless gift of peace. Because of these considerations and the fact that the octave of Christmas coincides with a day of hope, New Year's Day, we have assigned to it the observance of the World Day of Peace (Paul VI, , Feb. 2, 1974, no.5).
This particular feast or solemnity is the most important and also the oldest major feast of Our Dear Mother. It commemorates the source of her privileges, which is the fact of her motherhood. Jesus has many names, all of which can be summarised as the Name Above All Names, but one of them is Son of Mary. Mary is:
"truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer...not merely passively engaged by God, but freely cooperating in the work of our salvation through faith and obedience." (Lumen Gentium,53,56)
She was not just the birth mother of God made Man, Jesus, but her role as His Mother blossomed over His Life. One example of this occurred at the Wedding Feast of Cana where Mary shows forth:
" a new kind of motherhood according to the spirit and not just according to the flesh, that is to say Mary's solicitude for human beings, her coming to them in the wide variety of their wants and needs. At Cana in Galilee there is shown only one concrete aspect of human need, apparently a small one and of little importance ("They have no wine"). But it has a symbolic value, this coming to the aid of human beings means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christ's messianic mission and salvific power." (Pope John Paul 11, Redemptoris Mater 21)
Again, her love for Her Son took on new depth at the foot of the Cross, when Jesus, from the cross said to her:
"Woman, behold your son."(John 19,25-27)
In John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater, he writes:
"The words uttered by Jesus signify that the motherhood of her who bore Christ finds a 'new' continuation in the Church and through the Church, symbolized and represented by John. "
Mary was also present amongst the disciples as they prayed before Pentecost and accordingly, the Pope also wrote in Redemptoris Mater:
"Thus Mary who is present in the mystery of Christ as Mother becomes- by the will of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit- present in the mystery of the Church. In the Church too she continues to be a maternal presence, as is shown by the words spoken from the cross:'Woman, behold your son.' 'Behold, your mother.' "
Today, let all people of good will celebrate, not just the beginning of a New Year, but the beginning of a year, where we will do our best to imitate the devotion that Our Blessed Mother has to her son, Our Lord and Saviour and our best friend, Jesus Christ. No one knows a son like his mother, and so too, it is with Jesus and Mary, His Mother. Allow her to help you to know her son better.