There are many things I love about being a Catholic Christian: The uninterrupted history of the Church dating back to Christ Himself; the academic rigor of the theology (really!); and the universality of the Church, and how stepping into a Catholic church just about anywhere feels so familiar. In fact, the word “catholic” actually means universal. You can look it up.
But one of the things I love most is the liturgical calendar, and how much sense it makes. I am reminded of that because yesterday, January 1, was the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The feelings and thoughts of Mary stirred at mass yesterday are still very much with me, so I thought I would share a few of them:
- If you don’t know, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a feast day celebrated by the Catholic Church on the Octave (8th day) of Christmas. So it falls on January 1 rst. Always. Every year. Which is convenient, since most people who work (outside the home) have off for New Year’s Day. So you can go to mass.
- The Church calendar devotes a whole day, every year, to celebrate Mary’s role as a mother. The Church must really love and respect motherhood. Hey, I’m a mother too. I can relate. I love it.
- It makes my heart sing to see my church FULL on a weekday, even if it is a holy day of obligation. ESPECIALLY when it is a holy day of obligation. I know there is much discussion in the media about the decline of the Catholic Church, but I don’t see it from where I sit.
- Singing at mass. On a weekday. Songs that I know, like “Hail Mary Gentle Woman”, “Immaculate Mary”, and “Holy is His Name”, which is the Magnificat set to music. (The Magnificat is Mary’s Song of Praise, starting at Luke 1:46.)
- The Gospel reading contains on of my favorite verses, Luke 2:19. “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” So in case you were wondering … Yes, Mary DID know.
- Today’s second communion song was the cantor doing a solo of “Ave Maria”. All three verses. In Latin. I wept like, well, like a mother. And not just because it reminds me of my grandmother playing the organ at mass. It was just so very sweet and beautiful. The congregation broke into spontaneous applause when she was done. During the mass, y’all!
- Did you know the gift of eighth day of Christmas is “eight maids-a-milking”? Something vaguely maternal and not too coincidental there.
I cannot think of a better way to start a whole new year of motherhood. Can you?
This is my inaugural post for 7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum. You should check them out.