Painting of Vincent van Gogh, Avenue with Flowering Chesnut Trees at Arles, 1889
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart
There is a beautiful little story about a long, tedious train journey, made one Christmas day by some elderly nursing home residents who were on their way to a vacation spot. At one station, a young mother with a small child entered the train. The child smiled at all the grim faces around him and began moving from one lap to another talking, shouting with joy and chatting with everyone. Instantly, the grim and silent atmosphere in the train was changed to one of joy and happiness (quoted from Fr Tony Kadavil).
The first day of the new year according to the liturgical calendar is opened by the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Behind the new year frenzy celebration around the world, we always celebrate Mary the Mother of God. And the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God is the celebration of hope, of love and of faith also the celebration of the word of God silently through Her tenderness of motherhood. What is the meaning of Mary the mother of God and why it is celebrated on the first of January, on the first day and on the first date of a new year?
We must know why Mary is titled Mother of God. Mary the mother of God is received from the fact of the Holy scripture itself. It is written by the Evangelist that a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. This baby -the son of God- is associated and interconnected with the mother -Mary-. Jesus Christ- the son of God- is the center of the event evangelized and the reference point focused so that at the same time this evangelization and reference embrace also the mother because the mother and the son are in union. It is Christ himself who declares and proclaims Mary’s motherhood as Mother of him (cf. Pope Benedictus XVI). The Son of God is the Word of God who was born of a woman called Mary. God sent His Son through the womb of Mary and for this reason, Mary begot the word of God. She begot according to the flesh the Word of God that made flesh. Therefore, the word of God reaffirms also Mary’s motherhood as Mother of God.
This divine fact Mary the Mother of God also explains who Jesus is. Mary the Mother of God guarantees the nature of the son of God as manhood and as Christ in one person: Jesus. By and through the Mother of God, Jesus Christ is really a man and a God as the oneness of his nature. Then, Mary the Mother of God is the key and the starting point to understanding and contemplating the mystery and the richness of Jesus’s nature. Without admission of faith that is Mary the mother of God, one can fall down to the heresy of Nestorians that did not accept the union nature of Jesus. According to Nestor, in Jesus there were two natures: God and man but all of them are separated; the human person of Jesus and Christ’s divine nature was distinct. The consequence was that Nestor rejected for example God’s suffering or God was crucified because the suffering of Jesus’s manhood was separated from his divinity. This heresy threw away the fact that Mary was the mother of God. From Nestor’s perspective, God’s incarnation is never happening and God is never with us; God is not Immanuel because he never experiences human experience, he is only a transcendent God without immanent God so that it is impossible for one to call him father, abba. Salvation in history would be also an appearance and not the real one.
Mary the Mother of God also ensures salvation in history because salvation is begotten from the Virgin Mary -a woman existing in flesh and time and space-. Mary Mother of God brought Jesus Christ the salvation into the world: in her fruitful virginity, God gave men and women the gifts of eternal salvation (Pope Benedictus XVI). Through Mary the Mother of God, we are God’s children and not slave children. Through Mary also that God made flesh make us receive adoption as children and because of Mary the mother of God we can cry to God as Abba, Father in our hearts. That is why Saint Paul said: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. Mary, in fact, is the true Mother of God precisely by virtue of her total relationship with Christ. She, who gave earthly life to the Son of God, continues to give human beings divine life, which is Jesus himself and his Holy Spirit (pope Benedictus XVI). In the rosary, we pray blessed you among the woman and blessed your thy womb Jesus. This phrase of rosary means that we honor Mary, primarily because God honored her by choosing her to become the mother of Jesus, the second Person of the Holy Trinity when he took on our flesh and became Man (Fr. Tony Kadavil). Therefore, in glorifying the Son one honors the Mother and in honoring the Mother one glorifies the Son. Per Mariam ad Jesus: through Maria to Jesus.
Mary the mother of God is a grace for the faith, of all who love Jesus- the Son of God. The grace mother of God is still accompanying us who are on the journey and she has never abandoned us. Mary is still praying for us as we cite Holy Mary mother of God pray for us. And she always offers her meditation for us through history toward eternity just as she once offered it to the shepherds of Bethlehem (Pope Benedictus XVI).
Definitely, we are on the pilgrimage in this life together with Mary the Mother of God and Jesus Christ -the son of God-. On the pilgrimage, life is fulfilled with any kind of events and moments. We will meet any kind of moments and events. These events in life can be joyful moments, sad moments, can be dark moments, can be luminous moments. Then, if all those moments that happened, are happening and will happen are united, all of them will form a rosary. Rosary consists of four mysteries: joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries. All moments of our life will become rosary if we treasure up all these moments and pondered them in our hearts as Mary did. But how it can be done to treasure up and to ponder in the heart?
As it is said that Mary the Mother of God is also the Mother of the Word of God. Every day, the word of God always talks to us and delivers His messages. Nothing of days of the year is without the word of God. The Word of God is the light that illuminates us who are on the pilgrimage. We reflect and unite our lives in the love of the Mother of God by pondering the word of God in the heart. We treasure up all the moments and event with the word of God in order for the word of God illuminates our time and moment of life. The word of God helps us to find God’s love as the shepherd found the baby, Mary and Joseph. They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. The expression of treasuring up and pondering in the heart is to be thankful for everything. We have to thank for everything over the past years. We have been through up and down in our life for sure but just be thankful for everything and everyone. The reason is that we can pass over the years because of the companionship of Mary mother of God and Jesus Christ and their help for us. Treasuring up everything and pondering all moments in the heart under the Word of God made us the person we are. Faith, love and hope that blossom in our life make us the person we are and make us the roses of life. Mary the Mother of God helps humanity cross all the “thresholds” of the years, the centuries, and the millenniums, by sustaining their hope in the One who is the Lord of history. Mother of God walks with us and guides us with motherly tenderness towards the future (Pope John Paul II). No doubt that Mary and her Divine Son Jesus transformed a hopeless, joyless and sinful world into a place of joy and happiness. That is why Mary the mother of God is celebrated on the first of January.
Everything will pass away. We must remember this truth, especially when we are saying goodbye to another year in our life and entering a new one. Yes, our wealth, beauty, joys, and sorrows will pass away (Fr. Tony Kadavil). One day we will become memories of this world. The good or bad memories appear to depend on how we treat others and how we take the values from every moment happening in our life. Therefore, let us become good memories for the world and may our acts bear the kindness and love in order for the kindness and the love to remain in the hearts of everyone we come across. Good memories, kindness, and love will be a beautiful album of life. We can do kindness; we can love everyone and everything if we always treasure up and ponder the word of God in our hearts. At last, we close the album of the past year with the love of the Mother of God and we also open a new album of the new year with the love Mother of God so that finally our album of life becomes the rosary; our album is pinned with name and title: Jesus Christ so that Jesus shall put our name on His heart.
For the new year, let us ask for Jesus and Mary’s blessing in order for our album of life will be full of love and peace, and to realize our dream based on God’s will: May The Lord Jesus bless you and keep you; the Lord Jesus make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord Jesus lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
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