"The fact that January 1, this sometime Holy Day of Obligation, is a minor annoyance to too many Catholics is almost as sad as the disdain with which such observances are met by our separated Protestant brethren, who, much to their misfortune, neither venerate nor supplicate the Blessed Mother."
Our Lady’s Day
By Lisa Ingram
With a new year right around the corner, many are busying themselves with the adoption of resolutions guaranteed to make them fabulously rich, fabulously popular, or fabulously thin. In the midst of all these industrious reveries comes the unwelcome option of attending Mass on New Year’s Day. It should come as no surprise that, on a day best spent watching football and nursing hangovers, the last place these folks want to spend part of that day is in church.
So why go to Mass?
January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, which celebrates the title officially bestowed on Our Lady by the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century. We join the Church in proclaiming that Mary is truly the mother of God the Son, Jesus Christ: true man and true God. The fact that this sometime Holy Day of Obligation is a minor annoyance to too many Catholics is almost as sad as the disdain with which such observances are met by our separated Protestant brethren, who, much to their misfortune, neither venerate nor supplicate the Blessed Mother.
Because, like it or not, Our Lady has a special hold on all people, especially Catholics. Whose mood does not soften when looking upon a painting of Madonna and Child? Whose eyes do not tear up at the singing of the Ave Maria? And even the most hardened and cynical fallen-away Catholic man will turn practically violent at any abuse of her name. Why?
Because deep down, they know that she is still their Heavenly Mother, and no man will tolerate insults to his mother; a truism that Protestants would do well to remember on Judgment Day.
My father used to say that no one on Earth is closer than brother and sister, because only they share the same blood. Those who are not Catholic share in neither the Body nor Blood of Our Lord, as we are most blessed to receive every day at Mass. This is why most of them don’t understand and even scorn our love and veneration for His Mother; because they are not in full communion with the Church, the Body of Christ, her son. If they were, they’d see that to be a member of His Body means that, in addition to our hope of sharing His divinity in Heaven, we also share everything that makes Him human, including His Sonhood and therefore, also His Mother.
According to the Gospel accounts, Our Lady was the only human being to experience the entirety of Christ’s life on Earth, from beginning to end. No one else received this great grace of exclusivity. And that is one of the manifold reasons we look to Mary not only as our mother and queen, but as our guide to her son.
The last recorded words of the Blessed Mother in the Gospels are at the wedding at Cana where she says, “Whatsoever He shall say to you, do.” These seven words encapsulate her love for us: that she ardently desires to lead us to eternal joy with her son.
And so we should rejoice that we have been made sons and daughters of such a Mother. And if we want to make a New Year’s resolution that will truly help us, try this one, every morning:
My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you; and in proof of my affection, I give you my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart and my whole being without reserve. Since I am your own, keep me and guard me as your property and possession. Amen.
Lisa Ingram is a parishioner of the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist.