Monday, January 01, 2007

Hard to “Get Up” for the Mother of God?

“Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
–(Luke 1:42)

Back when I was a youth minister, I remember being somewhat stunned when the leader of our singing group, a devout young guitar player and vocalist confided, “I think the Catholic Church makes January 1st a Holy Day of Obligation to punish those who stay up late and party.” Well, apparently the U.S. Catholic Bishops agree, for they took the easy way out by “un-obligating” the “faithful” from going to Mass on the Feast of Mary the Mother of God this year because of the mere fact it falls on a Monday.

FIT readers will have their say on this issue, but to this author it seems that lax attitudes toward the liturgy (and Our Lady) by our leaders inspires a “worship when convenient” mentality by the laity. For if Mary “as the most holy Mother of God She was, after Her Son, exalted above all angels and men” (Lumen Genium) and the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life, “the sum and summary of our faith” (CCC 1324,1327), shouldn't a Mass celebrating Mary as the Mother of God be emphasized more rather than less?

For “Mary the Mother of God” is Our Lady's most decisive title and thus perhaps the one our Protestant brothers and sisters most object to—when it should be the other way around. For when the Council of Ephesus championed (and the Council of Chalcedon confirmed) Mary as Theotokos (literally “God-bearer”) rather than Christotokos (Christ-bearer), they were fighting heretics such as Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, who claimed Christ wasn't fully God. In other words, by stressing Christ was both God AND born of Mary, the unity of Jesus as God and Man was preserved. Just as true devotion of Mary always leads to worship of Christ, an understanding that Mary is the Mother of God is proof that Christ is both totally human and fully divine, and that His two natures can never be separated.

Little wonder then that the people of Ephesus, upon hearing the Council's good news, took to the streets and started joyfully shouting, “Theotokos! Mary Mother Of God!” It is indeed a far cry from the chants of “Happy New Year!” that our revelers babble today, but with 2007 now here and our New Year's resolutions awaiting, it is a cry both the laypeople and bishops should resolve to get back to.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death Amen!

1 comment :

JimAroo said...

Yes the poor little dears might have to go to Mass 2 days in a row. WAHHHHH! I know a 7th grade boy who has been to Mass every day since his 1st Communion 5 years ago.

In 1992, the American Bishops, with Vatican approval, dispensed with obligation on 1/1, 8/15, and 11/1 anytime they fell on Saturday or Monday. December 8 can not be dispensed since the Immaculate conception is the patroness of our country....and yes those are tears on our mother's lovely face.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.