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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

 

Saint Mary, the Mother of God

Feast Day - January 1

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Solemnity of Mary as Mother of God (Theotokos) is celebrated on 1 January, on the same day as the Octave of Christmas.

Theotokos means God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human. Hence, the feast is a celebration of Mary's motherhood of Jesus. The title “Mother of God” and the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, which celebrates her under this title, are at once both Mariological and Christological.

Mary's identity, role, and status as Theotokos is acknowledged as indispensable.

This feast that celebrates Mary’s motherhood is the oldest feast of Mary celebrated by the Catholic Church.

Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. She consents to God’s invitation conveyed by the angel (Luke 1:26-38).

Elizabeth proclaims: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.

The feast was celebrated in the East before it was in the West, but by the 5th century it was celebrated in France and Spain on the Sunday before Christmas. In Rome, even before the 7th century, 1 January was used as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the Marian feast on 1 January. The celebration of the Feast of the Circumcision on 1 January was expanded to the entire Catholic Church in 1570 when Pope Pius V promulgated the Missal.

In 1914, the feast of the "Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary" was established in Portugal, occurring on 11 October. In 1931, this feast was extended to the entire Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI and maintained on 11 October. Following the Second Vatican Council in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar, and replaced it with the feast of the "Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God," marked on January 1.

The use of the word “Solemnity” here is not a statement about Mary’s personality. It is a designation used for certain days within the liturgical (church-based) calendar of the Church.  Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials. By celebrating a solemnity dedicated to Mary’s motherhood, the Church highlights the significance of her part in the life of Jesus, and emphasises that he is both human and divine.

Pope Paul VI, in his apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974), called the Solemnity of Mary “a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf.Lk 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, You blessed the Virgin Mary with the fullness of grace. She is my model of faith, hope, and love. I give this new year to her intercession and ask for her holy prayers. Place my needs into the protection of her motherly love. With her help, I want my faith to grow. Give me an increase in the virtue of hope when troubles tempt me to despair. Guide me in understanding Your infinite love. And join my heart, dear Lord, to the Holy Mother's Immaculate Heart, so that I may improve in loving everyone unconditionally, in imitation of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

 
Divine Updates

39th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

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