Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
(Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Presence of God – O Mary, Mother of God, deign to accept my humble homage and grant that I, too, may enjoy the blessed fruits of your maternity.
The [Solemnity] we celebrate today honors Mary under her most beautiful title and in her most glorious prerogative: Mother of God. This title and prerogative were solemnly proclaimed by the Council of Ephesus, to oppose the Nestorian heresy. Today the Church congratulates Mary for this supreme dignity, which raises her above all other creatures, even to the threshold of infinity, and makes her Queen, not only of men, but also of angels. This is the dominant theme throughout the Mass. The Introit repeats the prophecy of Isaias which, even in the Old Testament, had foretold the sublimity of our Blessed Lady, “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), that is, God with us. The Epistle (Sirach 24:23-31), applying to Our Lady an extract from the book of Wisdom, sings the praises of her divine maternity: Mary is the fruitful vine which bore the fairest fruit, Jesus. Mary is “the mother of fair love” in whom is “all grace of the way and of the truth … all hope of life and of virtue,” since through her alone God gave to the world His only-begotten Son; through her alone men have had their Savior. He who wants Jesus must seek Him in Mary’s arms; he who wishes to propitiate the Savior must have recourse to her who is His Mother. How sweetly, then, does her maternal invitation sound in our ears: “Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.” Yes, let us go to Mary and we shall not be deceived; in her we shall find all we can desire, because Mary gives us Jesus, the Redeemer, Father and true Food of our souls. Not only does she give Him to us, but, by the example of her wonderful life, she teaches us to love Him, to imitate Him, to follow Him, and to profit as much as possible from His redemptive, sanctifying work. Thus Mary extends her maternity to us too, fulfilling toward us the duties of a Mother, and we can repeat with full confidence the prayer which the Church puts on our lips today: “O Lord … grant that we who believe her to be indeed the Mother of God may be aided by her intercession with Thee” (Collect).
“Your name, O Mother of God, is filled with every divine grace and blessing. You carried in your womb Him whom the heavens could not contain. You nourished Him who feeds the whole world. The Lord of the universe willed to have need of you, for you gave Him the flesh which He did not have before. Rejoice, O Mother and Handmaid of God! Rejoice! You have for debtor Him who gives existence to all creatures; we are all debtors to God, but God is debtor to you!
“O most holy Virgin, you have more goodness and charity than all the other saints and you have greater access to the throne of God than they, because you are His Mother. I, then, who am celebrating your glories and praising your immense goodness, beg you to be mindful of me and my miseries” (St. Methodius).
“O great Mother of God, I, too, will say with St. Bernard: ‘speak, O Lady, because your Son is listening to you, and whatever you ask He will grant you!’ Speak, then, speak, in my favor, O Mary, my advocate, wretched as I am. Remember it was for my benefit, too, that you were given such power and dignity. God willed to make Himself your debtor by taking His human nature from you, so that you might freely dispense the riches of His divine mercy to the poor and wretched.
“If you, who are so immensely good, do good to all, even to those who do not know and honor you, how much more should we hope in your benignity, we who wish to honor you and love you and who trust in your aid? O Mary, although we are sinners, you can save us, because God has enriched you with mercy and power that surpasses all our iniquity. O most sweet Mother, to you I give my soul, that you may purify it, sanctify it, and consecrate it wholly to Jesus” (St. Alphonsus).
Note from Dan: This post on the Holy Mother of God is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art: Virgin and Child detail from La Vierge LEnfant Jesus Et Saint Jean Baptiste [The Virgin, Infant Jesus and Saint John the Baptist], William-Adolphe Bouguereau, date unknown, Restored Traditions, used with permission. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.