Saint of the Day ~ January 1

BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, the HOLY MOTHER of GOD

Today, the universal Church recognizes and honors Mary under the title in her special role as Mother of God, a title which was first used by Saint Elizabeth at the Visitation, “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) – the name “Lord” being used throughout Sacred Scripture in several contexts as designating the Divine Presence.

Found in early liturgical prayers according to Saint Cyril (5th century), the Greek term Theotokos (“The God-bearer”) was perfectly familiar to the ancient Fathers of the Church, as may be seen in the writings of Saint Ignatius of Antioch circa the year 90, along with Saints Irenaeus and Tertullian.

The great honor of this title goes back to the early centuries of Christianity, but the term Theotokos was officially consecrated as Church doctrine at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 A.D., thus becoming the first Marian dogma. At the end of the Council of Ephesus, crowds of people marched through the streets shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!”

In its chapter on Mary’s role in the Church, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium” (“A Light to the Nations”) calls Mary “Mother of God” twenty-five times.

For a deeper insight into this great Solemnity and how it impacts our personal life of faith, please see today’s Meditation for the Day.

The Church throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God on January 1.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Missal from the Proper for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God)

“O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary, bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son.

“Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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