Saturday, January 1, 2011

We Won't Forget You Theotokos!

Happy New Year!  I hope you are all richly blessed in 2011.

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  Sadly, most Catholics will not realize this since the US bishops have decided that it's not a Holy Day of Obligation.  This year.  That's right-- American Catholics cannot be inconvenienced by being asked to attend Mass two days in a row, so certain holy days are "abrogated" (i.e. swept under the carpet) if they fall on a Saturday or a Monday.  This is not the case in all countries though, so if you're reading from another nation, you may be mystified.  I share your confusion.

I can't imagine a better way to welcome the New Year than to attend Mass and honor the Blessed Mother as we receive our first Bread of Life in 2011.  Today we celebrate Mary's role as Mother of God.  She is not simply the mother of Christ's human nature nor is she a Jewish girl chosen at random to bear the Messiah.  Mary is truly the Mother of God and was chosen and created by God for this role.  The ancient word that describes this title of Mary is Theotokos or "God bearer."  This title and its meaning were so important in the early Church that the Council of Ephesus declared in 431:

"If anyone does not confess that the Emmanuel is truly God and therefore that the holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos) (since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh), anathema sit." [Anathema sit is an ancient form of excommunication that no longer exists in the Church, but does show the significance of this statement by the Council.]

Since there was no Solemnity Mass to attend today in my diocese, I decided to celebrate the occasion by reading from my new Magnificat magazine (worth every penny!) and by praying 10 decades of the Rosary.  I know that many other Catholics join me in celebrating anyway, but we really do need to get this important feast back into the US Catholic Church, even if it is on a Monday or a Saturday.  Perhaps we can write to our bishops and encourage them to remove the abrogation.  Theotokos, we won't forget you!

Today is also the First Saturday, if you honor the Five First Saturdays devotion.  Yet another reason to pray the Rosary today!

Notes:
EWTN has two good articles on Theotokos and today's Solemnity.

1 comment:

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