Maternity of Mary

Discussion in 'Sundays and Feastdays ' started by Admin, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. Admin

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    Maternity of Mary
    from the Liturgical Year, 1910

    The Church celebrates, today, the august prerogative of this divine Maternity, which was conferred on a mere creature, and which made her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man's salvation.

    But it is today, that we, the children of the Roman Church, must pour forth all the love of our hearts for the Virgin-Mother, and rejoice with her in the exceeding happiness she feels at having given birth to her and our Lord. During Advent, we contemplated her as pregnant with the world's salvation; we proclaimed the glory of that Ark of the New Covenant, whose chaste womb was the earthly paradise, chosen by the King of Ages for His dwelling-place. Now, she has brought Him forth, the Infant-God; she adores Him, Him who is her Son. She has the right to call Him, her Child; and He, God as He is, calls her in strictest truth, his Mother. Let us not be surprised, therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect, wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin, and her prerogatives.

    Let us not be surprised, therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect, wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin, and her prerogatives. Let us, on the contrary, be convinced, that all the praise the Church can give her, and all the devotion she can ever bear towards her, are far below what is due to her as Mother of the Incarnate God. No mortal will ever be able to describe, or even comprehend, how great a glory accrues to her from this sublime dignity. For, as the glory of Mary comes from her being the Mother of God, one would have first to comprehend God Himself, in order to measure the greatness of her dignity.

    It is to God, that Mary gave our human nature; it is God, whom she had as her Child; it is God, who gloried in rendering Himself, inasmuch as He is Man, subject to her: hence, the true value of such a dignity, possessed by a mere creature, can only be appreciated, in proportion to our knowledge of the sovereign perfections of the great God, who thus deigns to make Himself dependent upon that favored creature. Let us, therefore, bow down in deepest adoration before the Majesty of our God; let us, therefore, acknowledge that we cannot respect, as it deserves, the extraordinary dignity of Her, whom He chose for His Mother.

    The same sublime Mystery overpowers the mind from another point of view--what were the feelings of such a Mother towards such a Son? The Child she holds in her arms, and presses to her heart, is the Fruit of her virginal womb, and she loves Him as her own; she loves Him because she is His Mother, and a Mother loves her Child as herself, nay, more than herself:--but, when she thinks upon the infinite majesty of Him, who has thus given Himself to her to be the object of her love and her fond caresses-- she trembles in her humility, and her soul has to turn, in order to bear up against the overwhelming truth, to the other thought of the nine months she held this Babe in her womb, and of the filial smile He gave her when her eyes first met His. These two deep-rooted feelings--of a creature that adores, and of a Mother that loves--are in Mary's heart. The being Mother of God implies all this:--and may we not well say, that no pure creature could be exalted more than she? and that in order to comprehend her dignity, we should first have to comprehend God Himself? and that only God's infinite wisdom could plan such a work, and only his infinite power accomplish it?

    A Mother of God!--It is the mystery, whose fulfillment the world, without knowing it, was awaiting for four thousand years. It is the work, which, in God's eyes, was incomparably greater than that of the creation of a million new worlds, for such a creation would cost Him nothing; He has but to speak, and all whatsoever He wills is made. But, that a creature should become Mother of God, He has had, not only to suspend the laws of nature by making a Virgin Mother, but also to put Himself in a state of dependence upon the happy creature He chose for His Mother. He had to give her rights over Himself, and contract the obligation of certain duties towards her. He had to make Her his Mother, and Himself her Son.

    It follows from all this, that the blessings of the Incarnation, for which we are indebted to the love wherewith the Divine Word loved us, may and ought to be referred, though in an inferior degree, to Mary herself. If she be the Mother of God, it is because she consented to it, for God vouchsafed, not only to ask her consent, but, moreover, to make the coming of His Son into this world depend upon her giving it. As this His Son, the Eternal Word, spoke His Fiat over chaos, and the answer to His word was creation; so did Mary use the same word Fiat:--let it be done unto me, she said. God heard her word, and, immediately, the Son of God descended into her virginal womb. After God, then, it is to Mary, His ever Blessed Mother, that we are indebted for our Emmanuel.

    The divine plan for the world's salvation included there being a Mother of God: and as heresy sought to deny the mystery of the Incarnation, it equally sought to deny the glorious prerogative of Mary. Nestorius asserted, that Jesus was only man; Mary, consequently was not Mother of God, but merely Mother of a Man, called Jesus. This impious doctrine roused the indignation of the Catholic world. The East and West united in proclaiming, that Jesus was God and Man, in unity of Person; and that Mary, being his Mother, was, in strict truth, "Mother of God." This victory over Nestorianism was won at the Council of Ephesus. It was hailed by the Christians of those times with an enthusiasm of Faith, which not only proved the tender love they had for the Mother of Jesus, but was sure to result in the setting up of some solemn trophy, that would perpetuate the memory of the victory. It was then that began, in both the Greek and Latin Churches, the pious custom of uniting, during Christmas, the veneration due to the Mother with the supreme worship given to the Son. The day assigned for the united commemoration varied in the several countries, but the sentiment of religion, which suggested the Feast, was one and the same throughout the entire Church.

    The holy Pope Xystus 3rd ordered an immense Mosaic to be worked into the Chancel-Arch of the Church of St. Mary Major, in Rome, as a monument to the holy Mother of God. The Mosaic still exists, bearing testimony as to what was the faith held in the Fifth Century. It represents the various Scriptural types of our Lady, and the inscription of the holy Pontiff is still legible in its bold letters: Xystus Episcopus Plebi Dei, (Xystus Bishop to the People of God for the Saint had dedicated to the Faithful this his offering to Mary, the Mother of God.


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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  2. Admin

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    The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St Leo the Pope
    His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived him before her body. She learned the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe. For why should she, unto whom was promised all sufficient strength through the power of the Highest, have felt hopeless merely because of the unexampled character of such a conception? She believeth, and her belief is confirmed by the attestation of a miracle which hath already been wrought. The fruitfulness of Elizabeth, before unhoped for, is brought forward that she might not doubt that he who had given conception unto her that was barren, would give the same unto her that was Virgin. And so the Word of God, the Son of God, who was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not anything made that was made, to deliver man from eternal death, was made man.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, descending from his throne in heaven, but leaving not that glory which he hath with the Father, cometh into this lower world by being born after a new order and in a new birth. He cometh after a new order, in that he who is unseen among his own, was seen among us; the Incomprehensible was fain to be comprehended, and he that is from everlasting to everlasting began to be in time. He was the Offspring of a new birth; conceived of a maiden, without the passion of any fleshly father, without any breach of his Mother's virginity, since such a birth beseemed the coming Saviour of mankind, who was to have in him the nature of man's being, and to be free of any defilement of man's flesh. Though he sprung not as we spring, yet is his nature as our nature; we believe that he is free from the use and custom of men; but it was the power of God which wrought that a maiden should conceive, that a maiden should bring forth, and yet abide a maiden still.



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    The Lesson is taken from the Acts of Pope Pius XI

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    In the year 1931, amid the applause of the whole Catholic world, solemn rites were celebrated to mark the completion of the fifteen centuries which had elapsed since the Council of Ephesus, moving against the Nestorian heresy, had acclaimed the blessed Virgin Mary, of whom Jesus was born, as Mother of God. This acclamation had been made by the Fathers of the Church under the leadership of Pope Celestine. Pius XI, as Supreme Pontiff, wished to commemorate the notable event and to give lasting proof of his devotion to Mary. Now there had existed for many years in Rome a grand memorial to the proclamation of Ephesus?the triumphal arch in the basilica of Saint Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill. This monument had already been adorned by a previous pontiff, Sixtus III, with mosaics of marvellous workmanship, now falling to pieces from the decay of the passing ages. Pius XI, therefore, out of his own munificence, caused these to be restored most exquisitely and with them the transept of the basilica. In an Encyclical Letter Pius set forth also the true history of the Council of Ephesus, and expounded fervently and at great length the doctrine of the prerogatives of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of God. He did this that the doctrine of this lofty mystery might sink more deeply into the hearts of the faithful. In it he set forth Mary, the Mother of God, blessed among women, and the most holy Family of Nazareth as the exemplars to be followed above all others, as models of the dignity and holiness of chaste wedlock, as patterns of the holy education to be given youth. Finally that no liturgical detail be lacking, he decreed that the feast of the Divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary be celebrated annually on the 11th day of October by the universal Church with a proper Mass and Office under the rite of a double of the second class.

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  3. Admin

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