Maternity of Mary
from the Liturgical Year, 1910

The Church celebrates, today, the august prerogative of this divine Maternity, which was conferred on a mere creature, and which made her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man's salvation.

But it is today, that we, the children of the Roman Church, must pour forth all the love of our hearts for the Virgin-Mother, and rejoice with her in the exceeding happiness she feels at having given birth to her and our Lord. During Advent, we contemplated her as pregnant with the world's salvation; we proclaimed the glory of that Ark of the New Covenant, whose chaste womb was the earthly paradise, chosen by the King of Ages for His dwelling-place. Now, she has brought Him forth, the Infant-God; she adores Him, Him who is her Son. She has the right to call Him, her Child; and He, God as He is, calls her in strictest truth, his Mother. Let us not be surprised, therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect, wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin, and her prerogatives.

Let us not be surprised, therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect, wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin, and her prerogatives. Let us, on the contrary, be convinced, that all the praise the Church can give her, and all the devotion she can ever bear towards her, are far below what is due to her as Mother of the Incarnate God. No mortal will ever be able to describe, or even comprehend, how great a glory accrues to her from this sublime dignity. For, as the glory of Mary comes from her being the Mother of God, one would have first to comprehend God Himself, in order to measure the greatness of her dignity.

It is to God, that Mary gave our human nature; it is God, whom she had as her Child; it is God, who gloried in rendering Himself, inasmuch as He is Man, subject to her: hence, the true value of such a dignity, possessed by a mere creature, can only be appreciated, in proportion to our knowledge of the sovereign perfections of the great God, who thus deigns to make Himself dependent upon that favored creature. Let us, therefore, bow down in deepest adoration before the Majesty of our God; let us, therefore, acknowledge that we cannot respect, as it deserves, the extraordinary dignity of Her, whom He chose for His Mother.

The same sublime Mystery overpowers the mind from another point of view--what were the feelings of such a Mother towards such a Son? The Child she holds in her arms, and presses to her heart, is the Fruit of her virginal womb, and she loves Him as her own; she loves Him because she is His Mother, and a Mother loves her Child as herself, nay, more than herself:--but, when she thinks upon the infinite majesty of Him, who has thus given Himself to her to be the object of her love and her fond caresses-- she trembles in her humility, and her soul has to turn, in order to bear up against the overwhelming truth, to the other thought of the nine months she held this Babe in her womb, and of the filial smile He gave her when her eyes first met His. These two deep-rooted feelings--of a creature that adores, and of a Mother that loves--are in Mary's heart. The being Mother of God implies all this:--and may we not well say, that no pure creature could be exalted more than she? and that in order to comprehend her dignity, we should first have to comprehend God Himself? and that only God's infinite wisdom could plan such a work, and only his infinite power accomplish it?

A Mother of God!--It is the mystery, whose fulfillment the world, without knowing it, was awaiting for four thousand years. It is the work, which, in God's eyes, was incomparably greater than that of the creation of a million new worlds, for such a creation would cost Him nothing; He has but to speak, and all whatsoever He wills is made. But, that a creature should become Mother of God, He has had, not only to suspend the laws of nature by making a Virgin Mother, but also to put Himself in a state of dependence upon the happy creature He chose for His Mother. He had to give her rights over Himself, and contract the obligation of certain duties towards her. He had to make Her his Mother, and Himself her Son.

It follows from all this, that the blessings of the Incarnation, for which we are indebted to the love wherewith the Divine Word loved us, may and ought to be referred, though in an inferior degree, to Mary herself. If she be the Mother of God, it is because she consented to it, for God vouchsafed, not only to ask her consent, but, moreover, to make the coming of His Son into this world depend upon her giving it. As this His Son, the Eternal Word, spoke His Fiat over chaos, and the answer to His word was creation; so did Mary use the same word Fiat:--let it be done unto me, she said. God heard her word, and, immediately, the Son of God descended into her virginal womb. After God, then, it is to Mary, His ever Blessed Mother, that we are indebted for our Emmanuel.

The divine plan for the world's salvation included there being a Mother of God: and as heresy sought to deny the mystery of the Incarnation, it equally sought to deny the glorious prerogative of Mary. Nestorius asserted, that Jesus was only man; Mary, consequently was not Mother of God, but merely Mother of a Man, called Jesus. This impious doctrine roused the indignation of the Catholic world. The East and West united in proclaiming, that Jesus was God and Man, in unity of Person; and that Mary, being his Mother, was, in strict truth, "Mother of God." This victory over Nestorianism was won at the Council of Ephesus. It was hailed by the Christians of those times with an enthusiasm of Faith, which not only proved the tender love they had for the Mother of Jesus, but was sure to result in the setting up of some solemn trophy, that would perpetuate the memory of the victory. It was then that began, in both the Greek and Latin Churches, the pious custom of uniting, during Christmas, the veneration due to the Mother with the supreme worship given to the Son. The day assigned for the united commemoration varied in the several countries, but the sentiment of religion, which suggested the Feast, was one and the same throughout the entire Church.

The holy Pope Xystus 3rd ordered an immense Mosaic to be worked into the Chancel-Arch of the Church of St. Mary Major, in Rome, as a monument to the holy Mother of God. The Mosaic still exists, bearing testimony as to what was the faith held in the Fifth Century. It represents the various Scriptural types of our Lady, and the inscription of the holy Pontiff is still legible in its bold letters: Xystus Episcopus Plebi Dei, (Xystus Bishop to the People of God:) for the Saint had dedicated to the Faithful this his offering to Mary, the Mother of God.


Hymn: Te Mater alma

Sweet mother of the Lord most high,
To thee we bow in humble prayer,
To thee from evil powers we fly;
O shield and keep us in thy care.

It was to lift our fallen race
Above the curse of Adam's crime,
The king bestowed on thee all grace
And shaped thy Motherhood sublime.

So Mother, unto thee we pray;
Thou sets our need; thy Son entreat
That He, His anger turned away,
May raise our souls in mercy sweet.

All glory, Jesus, unto Thee,
Born of the Virgin void of stain;
The same to Sire and Spirit be
Proclaimed through one eternal reign. Amen.


Novena in Honor of the Maternity
of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Three Ave Maria's

(Indulgences of 100 Days, Aug. 11, 1824)

The Prayer

Virgin most holy, Mother of the Word Incarnate, Who dost dispense graces, Refuge of us poor sinners; we fly to thy maternal love with lively faith, and we ask thee to obtain for us grace ever to do the will of God and thine own. Into thy most holy hands we commit the keeping of our hearts; beseeching thee for health of soul and body, in the certain hope that thou, our most loving Mother, wilt hear our prayer. Wherefore with lively faith we say Ave Maria three times.

Let us pray

Defend, O Lord, we beseech Thee, us Thy servants from all infirmity, through the intercession of the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin; and mercifully protect us, who prostrate ourselves before Thee with our whole heart, from the snares of the enemy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Little Chaplet of the Twelve Privileges
of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,

Composed by St. Andrew Avellino

By a Brief of June 26, 1860, the Sovereign Pontiff Pope Pius IX. granted to all the faithful of both sexes: The indulgence of 300 days, who, once a day, devoutly and with contrite heart, say the following little Chaplet; and The plenary indulgence once a month, to be gained by saying it every day for the space of one month, provided that on any one day at pleasure in the same month, being truly penitent, having Confessed and Communicated, they shall visit some one church or public oratory, and there pray to God for concord amongst Christians princes, for the extirpation of heresies, and for the exaltation of our holy Mother the Church.

The Chaplet

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make speed to help me

I. Hail to thee, purest, holiest Mother of Jesus. We humbly pray thee, by thy Predestination, whereby thou wast even from all eternity elected Mother of God; by thy Immaculate Conception, whereby thou wast Conceived without stain of original sin; by thy most perfect resignation, whereby thou wast ever conformed to the will of God; and lastly by thy consummate holiness, whereby throughout thy whole life thou didst never commit one single fault: we pray thee to become our advocate with our Lord, that He may pardon so many sins of ours, which are the cause of His wrath. And Thou, O Father Almighty, by the merits of these privileges vouchsafed to this Thy well-beloved Daughter, hear her supplications for us, and pardon us her clients.

Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people.

One Pater, four Ave's, and one Gloria.

V. By thy holy Conception deliver us, glorious Virgin Mary.

II. Hail to thee, purest, holiest Mother of Jesus. We humbly pray thee, by thy most holy Annunciation, when thou didst conceive the Divine Word in thy womb; by thy most happy delivery, in which thou didst experience no pain; by thy perpetual virginity, which thou didst unite with the fruitfulness of a mother; and lastly, by the bitter martyrdom when thou didst undergo in our Saviour's death: we pray thee to become our mediatrix, that we may reap the fruit of the precious death of thy Son. And Thou, O divine Son, by the merits of these privileges granted to Thy well-beloved Mother, hear our supplications, and pardon us her clients.

Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people.

One Pater, four Ave's, and one Gloria.

V. By thy holy Conception deliver us, glorious Virgin Mary.

III. Hail to thee, purest, holiest Mother of Jesus. We humbly pray thee by the joys which thou didst feel in thy heart at the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ; by thy Assumption into Heaven, whereby thou wast exalted above all the choirs of the angels; by the glory which God has given thee to be Queen of all saints; and lastly, by that most powerful intercession, whereby thou art able to obtain all that thou dost desire: we pray thee obtain for us true love of God. And Thou, O Holy Spirit, by the merits of these privileges of Thy well-beloved Spouse, hear her supplications, and pardon us her clients. Amen.

Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people.

One Pater, four Ave's, and one Gloria.

V. By thy holy Conception deliver us, glorious Virgin Mary.

Here, at pleasure, the Litany of Loretto may be said, to gain another Indulgence of 300 days. See above. Afterwards add:

Ant. Thy Conception, Virgin Mother of God, brought tidings of joy to the whole world, for from thee arose the Son of Justice, Christ our God; Who, loosing the Curse, gave the blessing, and confounding death, granted unto us eternal life.

V. In thy Conception, O Mary the Virgin, thou wast Immaculate.

R. Pray for as to the Father, whose Son Jesus, conceived of the Holy Spirit, thou didst bring forth.

Let us pray.

God of mercy, God of pity, God of tenderness, Who hast compassion upon the affliction of Thy people, and didst say to the angel smiting Thy people, "Stay thy hand;" for the love of that glorious Mother, whose precious breasts Thou didst sweetly suck, as the antidote of our sins, grant us the help of Thy grace, that we may be safely freed from every evil, and mercifully preserved from the attack of all destruction. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.