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Lectio Divina: Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God (2017)

This Sunday we will celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God. It’s a Holy Day of Obligation that falls on a Sunday this year. I always love those, not because it means I don’t have to plan to attend Mass a different day besides Sunday, but because there are people who don’t often come for HDO that will get to experience this beautiful Mass this Sunday. I always hope it will inspire them to attend again the next year when this Solemnity will fall on a Monday instead.

Regardless, I love singing the Marian hymns and having the chance to give glory and praise to Mary for her role in salvation history. And she is our beautiful mother, too. Here is a chance to celebrate her motherhood, for all she did as a mother of Jesus, for all she had to endure in watching her sweet boy give his life for humanity, and for all she still does in listening to the prayers of all her children and bringing them to her son, Jesus. Today is indeed a special day.

I hope you will pull up today’s Gospel reading and join me in praying along with it in lectio divina style. You can access the Gospel reading at this link for the Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God. For a brief description of lectio divina you can find a quick outline from St. Meinrad Archabbey. Remember to read the Gospel reading before each of the next four sections below and take some time to reflect on the questions before reading my own responses. I hope you’ll share some of your thoughts in the comments.


A word or phrase that stuck out to you during your first reading. Mine were:

  • Kept these things
  • Reflecting
  • Glorifying and praising

REFLECT: What is God saying to you?

“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” This line speaks to me. Just before it we are told that all were amazed by what had been told by the shepherds. Those shepherds, who had just been visited by angels from heaven, hastily made their way to find this baby and then shared what had been told to them. The amazement makes me think that there were other people there with Mary and Joseph. What strikes me about the line specifically about Mary is that she is calm and reflective, which seems in contrast to the amazement of “all who heard” the shepherds’ message. Isn’t this always typical of what we can expect from our Holy Mother. She is calm and simply takes everything in, no matter the situation. She trusted God in all things.

I can tell you, I am not a calm, reflective person. I want to be. Really, I do. But I’m not there yet. Mary, on the other hand, is humble, she says very little, she reflects on the words spoken to her, and she has total trust that God will handle everything. She knew there would be adversity, suffering, unknowns, and plenty of sacrifice, but she just carried on and trusted. Every time I do one of these reflections I feel God calling me to trust him more. And here he also provides an example in the Blessed Virgin, his Mother and ours.

RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?

Your Mother, O Lord, is such a gift to this world. Her example of a humble, contemplative mother and disciple is one I hope to emulate more and more each day. It will take me a lifetime to have even a fraction of the trust our Holy Mother had. Thank you for the gift of your mother, our Holy Blessed Mother, for her calm demeanor, total trust, and humble spirit. May she always be blessed among women.


Read the passage one final time and spend a few moments in quiet contemplation, rest in the words of the Gospel.


What do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Christmas Faith Formation Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Karen Liturgical Year Mary Motherhood

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! 

 Why the First o
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“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1-38)e.
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!