Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
Mother of the Church
We rightly start the year by honoring the woman whose faith enabled God to be born: the Blessed Virgin Mary, the holy Mother of God. Since I reflected on the orations for this day long ago, I’ll do the orations from a Votive Mass [a Mass with no set date] for Our Lady, Mother of the Church. This was the preferred title for Mary in the 1962-65 Vatican Council’s documents. The Council Fathers clearly placed Mary WITHIN the Church, but in the most reverent role as ‘Mother.’ The orations [below] for Our Lady, Mother of the Church help explain their reasoning.
Collect – Our Lady, Mother of the Church
God, Father of mercies, whose only
Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother,
to be our Mother also, grant, we pray,
that with her loving help your Church may be more fruitful day by day and, exulting in the holiness of her children, may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
WORDS FROM THE CROSS.
To delay death and intensify agony, the crucified were affixed to the cross to make breathing extremely difficult. With their legs and arms pinned in place, they hung in a slouched position; straightening up to intake air caused such tremendous pain, so they slowly suffocated. Their legs were broken to hasten death, as were those of the two thieves crucified with Jesus. Obviously, speaking was most difficult, so the crucified only said what was of the utmost importance. And one of our Lord’s ‘Seven Last Words’ or phrases forms the basis of this Collect and Mary’s role as our Mother: Mother of the Church: “Woman, behold, your son.” … “Behold, your mother.” [Cf. John 19:25-27]
In this new Year of our Lord 2017, will you bring Mary into your home, into your life, every day, so she can give you motherly love and comfort, guidance and direction, hope and peace?
Prayer over the Offerings – Mother of the Church
Receive our offerings, O Lord, and transform them into the mystery of salvation, so that
by its power we may be set aflame with the charity of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, and with her may be united more closely to the work of redemption.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
DO WE TOTALLY OFFER OURSELVES AS DID OUR MOTHER? In the prayer right before this oration, the Priest says, “Pray … that my sacrifice and yours many be acceptable…” Some forget – or may have never realized – that we not only offer bread and wine at holy Mass to be changed into Christ’s Real Presence; we also offer ourselves so that we can become His presence. And our primary role model in offering all we are, all we have, all we can do – literally, our very selves – is our Mother: the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And the sign that we have been – or rather, are
being changed into Christ’s presence is that we have become more loving and caring, accepting and giving, trusting and selfless. And the more united we are in good works to the good works done by Christ’s Mother, the more united we are with her Son and His Church.
Prayer after Communion – Mother of the Church
Having received the pledge of redemption and of life, we humbly pray, O Lord, that, with the Blessed Virgin’s motherly help, your Church may teach all nations by proclaiming the Gospel and,
through the grace of the outpouring
of the Spirit, fill the whole earth.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
BECOME MORE LIKE YOUR MOTHER IN 2017.
At Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination we receive the same Holy Spirit who overshadowed our Blessed Mother; to a lesser extent this same Spirit comes to us in the other Sacraments and in all prayer and holy rites. However, we must use this tremendous power from on high – as did Our Lady, Mother of the Church – if we are going to be of any use to God, who wills to work wonders … through us. May Our Lady, Mother of the Church intercede for us! Happy New Year 2017!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS