1 January, Sunday — Learning from the first Christian

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.

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Num 6:22-27
Gal 4:4-7
Lk 2:16-21

As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

In my Christian journey, I have often found myself floundering; I am unsure how I will become more ‘faithful’. What did becoming more faithful even mean? What did this look like? And how would I know if I was even on the right track?

I finally found a role model when I heard in a homily, that our Mother Mary was the first Christian and that what she agreed to do for God, was the ultimate act of obedience. No one would have blamed Mother Mary had she not agreed to what the Angel Gabriel proclaimed to her. Yet, she did, and I saw her as the ultimate example of what obedience to God looks like. 

In preparing for this reflection, however, I saw a different quality of her that I could learn from, and it was that Mary “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart”. To be honest, this phrase only hit me because of a lot of ‘pondering’ that I had gone through myself in September 2022, as my wife and I walked the Camino Ignaciano as part of a silent retreat. Because of the silence, I could do nothing, but ponder on many things.

In this silence, I had the opportunity to reflect on how much God loved me and how I could see God’s hand through many of the happenings in my life. While many of these incidents may appear ‘bad’, a more profound reflection revealed the hand of God in action. 

Those who know me will know that I am hardly the strong, silent type. That goes the same for my prayer life. Often, praying would mean rattling off a series of ‘set prayers’, relying on these familiar prayers instead of reflecting and pondering on how God may speak with me in ordinary daily life.

Mary is the mother of our Lord, Jesus, and she could have spent her time just asking our Lord the deepest questions of her heart. Yet, she chose to quietly reflect on these questions in her heart. I, too, benefitted profoundly from such ponderings during my Camino walk and retreat. 

I am inspired to continue with this spiritual exercise. Let us be inspired by Mother Mary, and may we continue to draw upon her as our role model!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father God, help us to be coachable. May we be led to a closer experience of You, and may we continue to grow in love for You!

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for sending us a powerful role model in our Mother Mary. Help us to draw even more lessons from her relationship with You.


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