1 Jan – Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is celebrated on Jan 1, the Octave Day of Christmas (i.e. 8th day after Christmas). It is a celebration of Mary’s motherhood of Jesus. The title ‘Mother of God’ is a western derivation from the Greek term ‘theotokos’, the God-bearer.
The term ‘theotokos’ was adopted at the Council of Ephesus as a way to assert the divinity of Christ, from which it follows that what is declared of Christ is declared of God. So, if Mary is the mother of Jesus, she is the Mother of God. Therefore, the title ‘Mother of God’ and the ‘Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God’, which celebrates her under this title, are at once Mariological and Christological.
…she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.
When I read this gospel, I imagined Our Lady to be an introvert, a lady who enjoys contemplating, in solitude and peacefulness. In my mind, I imagined her to be sitting silently somewhere while gazing adoringly at baby Jesus in His crib and smiling at Him, while she wondered about what had happened when the shepherds arrived at the manger. She was probably thinking about what the shepherds had said, and how they adored and worshipped Jesus. St Joseph was probably standing near her too, smiling at Mary and Jesus.
But in today’s world, whatever small or big things happen in life, our first instinct is to whip out our iPhone (or any smartphone), take a picture or video, and then upload the image onto Instagram (or some other social media platform like Facebook or Tiktok). Soon, our social media inboxes become noisy and full of notifications from our followers and friends, with their compliments and comments flooding our feed.
Then we find ourselves in solitude again after the novelty of this new stuff has worn out.
But the experience is gone. There is probably no way that we can recapture the moments again. We may have immortalized these moments in our phones and social media, but the real essence of the emotions and experiences that surround each moment in life is gone.
I have realized this only a few months ago. By constantly uploading onto social media platforms our happenings in our life, I realize that we are living in the moments of life, yet not quite fully living in it. And by fully living in life’s each and every moment, I realize it is far more meaningful and spiritually enriching if we, like Our Lady, ponder these moments in our heart quietly and contentedly, offer up these moments to God, and try to appreciate and understand God’s presence in everything that we encounter. It is something like our memory version of Instagram, albeit filled with our unique experiences, and the likes and comments from God. It is only in these moments of peace and solitude can we hear God speaking to us in our hearts.
So, for this year’s resolutions, let’s make it a point to live life more meaningfully by pondering every moment in life, instead of being too busy uploading image after image on social media without really pondering on these moments beforehand.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to emulate Our Lady; please help us to ponder in our heart and appreciate each and every moment in life better and offer these moments to You. Please help us to live our life fully and not be too wholly consumed by the transient happiness that social media brings. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for helping us to realize the importance of leading life fully, and to see Your presence and hand in everything that we encounter. Amen.