Why the First of January is a Holy Day of Obligation
The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord has passed, and now we are in the thick of a joyous Christmas season! Hallelujah!
But don’t get too settled. January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation. It is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
In the celebration of the Octave of Christmas, the most elevated day is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary for her role as the mother of our Savior.
This celebration appears to go back as far as 431 AD, and officially was giving the Solemnity date of January 1 in 1971, after having been placed at a variety of other dates in the year in the past (more history can be found here
Why celebrate her? Well, why not? I like to consider the role she had in Jesus’s life and the significance it had not only for our Savior, but for all of humanity. What she did as a humble servant and mother, and continues to do as a powerful intercessor, gives us pause to marvel at what this one humble woman has accomplished: taking a prominent role in the salvation of humanity.
When the angel Gabriel approached Mary, her humble acceptance of God’s will resulted in the coming of Christ to save humanity.
She birthed the Son of God.
She nursed him.
She raised him.
Every scrape, she tended to.
Every need for guidance that a child might need, she gav
She would have taught him to clothe himself, proper customs and manners, how to draw water from a well, and see how bread was made.
Jesus was not simply born into this world and suddenly became the grown man walking the Earth, preaching to the masses. No, he was nurtured, cared for, and somehow, while simultaneously an omnipresent God and human child, would have discovered the world around him under the love and guidance of his faithful mother. And with this in mind, she provides us with the most perfect example of holy motherhood.
And if that all were not enough, she bore the hurt and suffering that only a mother can know of seeing her son scourged, reviled, and crucified.
She walked along the path to Calvary.
She would have held His lifeless body.
She was assumed into heaven and crowned Queen of Heaven, and has the power to intercede for us.
With all this, it is no wonder that Our Lady is a woman to be honored in such high esteem!
So, make sure you are in the pews January 1 to thank your Heavenly Mother!