An invitation to walk each day of the new year with the Blessed Mother

Miguel Augusto

On the first day of the year, the universal Church in her Liturgy celebrates the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. For Catholics, there could not be a better way to enter the New Year, in according to the saints’ teaching: there is no safer way on the path to Jesus than through the hands of His Mother, Mary Most Holy.

In this way, it could be said that, seven days after the birth of the baby Jesus who came into the world through Mary – a participant in the Incarnation of the Word through her “fiat” – still in the Christmas octave period, a New Year begins beside the Mother of the Lord and Our Mother. The Blessed Virgin took care of the child God for the years of His life. Each of us is also invited to walk by her side to meet her Son in a pilgrimage of faith and daily conversion.

Centuries before the Saviour of the world was made man, the prophet Isaiah had already prophesied: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman′u-el [God with us]” (Isaiah 7:14).

In the daily liturgy of the Dehonians, it was recalled that on January 1st, we are presented with different evocations. Although all of them are important, the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God naturally stands out. The priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus recalled that the first day of the year is also the World Day of Peace: in 1968, Pope Paul VI wanted Christians to pray for peace on this day. Finally, the first day of the calendar year is also celebrated.

The title of “Theotokos” (God-Bearer, Mother of God) was given to Mary during the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 in Asia Minor. 

The heresy of denying Our Lady’s divine motherhood came centuries before the Protestant movements. The error came from Nestorius, then Bishop of Constantinople. According to the Nestorians, Jesus had not only two natures, one human and the other divine, but was two persons, one human and the other divine. Mary would only be the mother of Christ, the human person. But in truth, these two natures of Our Lord Jesus Christ constitute one person, the person of Jesus. 

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) it says: “The Church confesses that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, with two natures, a divine nature and a human nature, not confused with each other but united in the Person of the Word. Therefore, in the humanity of Jesus all things – his miracles, his suffering, and his death – must be attributed to his divine Person which acts by means of his assumed human nature.

‘O Only-begotten Son and Word of God you who are immortal, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary (…) You who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!’ [Byzantine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom]” (CCC 89).

Professor Alessandro Lima, in his article “Santa Maria, Mãe de Deus” on the site reinforces the divinity of the Body of Christ, telling us of the infinite redeeming sacrifice of Our Lord: “The human nature of Our Lord and the divine nature cannot be separated, for the Redemption would not exist if Our Lord had just died as a man. Therefore, Our Holy Mother, Mother of Our Lord, even though she is not mother of divinity, is Mother of God, because Our Lord is God. If we deny Our Lady’s motherhood, we will deny the redemption of mankind.”

Lima stressed that all the Holy Fathers affirmed in love and veneration the divine motherhood of Our Lady and added, “I would get tired of citing all the primitive testimonies.”

From the Patristic testimonies that professor quoted in his article, let us see what the Apostle St Andrew says: “Mary is Mother of God, resplendent with such purity, and radiant with such beauty, that, below God, it is impossible to imagine greater, on earth or in heaven.”

St Therese of the Child Jesus, of Lisieux, said: “Do not be afraid to love the Blessed Virgin Mary too much, because you will never be able to love her enough and Jesus will be very happy, because the Blessed Virgin is his Mother.”

Dogma of faith

Of the four dogmas declared by the Church about Our Lady, truths of faith declared by a Council or by a Pope, the first is the Divine Motherhood of Mary Most Holy.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: “Called in the Gospels ‘the mother of Jesus’, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as ‘the mother of my Lord’. In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son of her according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly ‘Mother of God’ [Theotokos]” (CCC 495).

A prayer from the 3rd century

Deacon Inácio de Almenida, in an article of his published in Gaudium Press, recalls a Marian prayer considered the oldest known of historically particular theological importance. In a time during the persecution of Christians, recourse was had to the intercession of Mary, who at that time was already invoked with the title of “Theotokos” (Mother of God). It is mentioned that in the year 1927, in Egypt, a fragment of papyrus dating back to the third century was found and on it was written this prayer: “We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.” This prayer is known in Latin as “Sub Tuum Praesidium” (We fly to Thy protection).

Memory of St John Paul II

Pope St John Paul II was entirely consecrated to Mary Most Holy during his lifetime and Pontificate, with the Latin motto “Totus Tuus”, which means “All Yours.”

On January 1st, 1979, the Holy Father at the Solemn Mass of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God said: ”We see her then – as in so many pictures and sculptures – with the Child in her arms, with the Child at her breast. The Mother, she who begot and fed the Son of God. The Mother of Christ. There is no image that is better known and that speaks in a more simple way of the mystery of the Lord’s birth than that of the Mother with Jesus in her arms. Is not this image, perhaps, the source of our extraordinary confidence? Is it not just this image that allows us to live in the circle of all the mysteries of our faith, and, while contemplating them as ‘divine’, to consider them at the same time so ‘human’?”

But here the Pope also wanted us to remember another striking image of Our Lady with the child in her arms, when she receives Him down from the Cross on Calvary. Of that dramatic moment the Pope recall the image known as the “Pietà” and said: “It is in this basilica: it is ‘la Pietà’: Mary with Jesus taken from the Cross; with Jesus who died before her eyes of her, on Mount Golgotha, and who after death returns to those arms on which he was offered as Saviour of the world at Bethlehem.”

With this antagonistic image of deep Christian meaning, the Pontiff left us a wish and prayer that we can take for the New Year that has just begun. The echoes of his words are present today, telling us again as he told us in the past: “I would like, then, to unite our prayer for peace with this double image. I would like to connect it with this Motherhood, which the Church venerates particularly in the octave of Christmas. Therefore I say:


you who know what it means 

to clasp in your arms the dead body of your Son, 

of him to whom you gave birth, 

spare all mothers on this earth 

the death of their sons, 

the torments, the slavery, the destruction of war, 

the persecutions, the concentration camps, 

the prisons! 

Keep for them the joy of birth,

of sustenance, of the development of man 

and of his life. 

In the name of this life, 

in the name of the birth of the Lord, 

implore with us peace, 

and justice in the world! 

Mother of Peace, 

in all the beauty and majesty of your motherhood, 

which the Church exalts and the world admires, 

we pray to you: 

Be with us at every moment! 

Let this New Year be a year of peace, 

in virtue of the birth and the death of your Son!


(Image: Our Lady with the Child Jesus, Se Cathedral Church, Macau. Photo: Miguel Augusto)