The Wonder Would Be if Thou Wert not Puzzled at Which to Wonder Most.

Old Testament lesson from the Common, Gospel lesson from the Proper, according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite:

Ecclesiasticus 24: 23-31.
Luke 2: 43-51.


The Second Class Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Selected Lessons from Matins.









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9:23 AM 10/11/2014

From a Sermon of Pope Saint Leo
Sermo 1 de Nativitate Domini

His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived him before her body. She learned the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe. For why should she, unto whom was promised all sufficient strength through the power of the Highest, have felt hopeless merely because of the unexampled character of such a conception? She believeth, and her belief is confirmed by the attestation of a miracle which hath already been wrought. The fruitfulness of Elizabeth, before unhoped for, is brought forward that she might not doubt that he who had given conception unto her that was barren, would give the same unto her that was Virgin. And so the Word of God, the Son of God, who was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not anything made that was made, to deliver man from eternal death, was made man.

Serm. 2 de Nativitate Domini

Our Lord Jesus Christ, descending from his throne in heaven, but leaving not that glory which he hath with the Father, cometh into this lower world by being born after a new order and in a new birth. He cometh after a new order, in that he who is unseen among his own, was seen among us; the Incomprehensible was fain to be comprehended, and he that is from everlasting to everlasting began to be in time. He was the Offspring of a new birth; conceived of a maiden, without the passion of any fleshly father, without any breach of his Mother's virginity, since such a birth beseemed the coming Saviour of mankind, who was to have in him the nature of man's being, and to be free of any defilement of man's flesh. Though he sprung not as we spring, yet is his nature as our nature; we believe that he is free from the use and custom of men; but it was the power of God which wrought that a maiden should conceive, that a maiden should bring forth, and yet abide a maiden still.

From the Acts of Pope Pius XI

In the year 1931, amid the applause of the whole Catholic world, solemn rites were celebrated to mark the completion of the fifteen centuries which had elapsed since the Council of Ephesus, moving against the Nestorian heresy, had acclaimed the blessed Virgin Mary, of whom Jesus was born, as Mother of God. This acclamation had been made by the Fathers of the Church under the leadership of Pope Celestine. Pius XI, as Supreme Pontiff, wished to commemorate the notable event and to give lasting proof of his devotion to Mary. Now there had existed for many years in Rome a grand memorial to the proclamation of Ephesus, the triumphal arch in the basilica of Saint Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill. This monument had already been adorned by a previous pontiff, Sixtus III, with mosaics of marvellous workmanship, now falling to pieces from the decay of the passing ages. Pius XI, therefore, out of his own munificence, caused these to be restored most exquisitely and with them the transept of the basilica. In an Encyclical Letter Pius set forth also the true history of the Council of Ephesus, and expounded fervently and at great length the doctrine of the prerogatives of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of God. He did this that the doctrine of this lofty mystery might sink more deeply into the hearts of the faithful. In it he set forth Mary, the Mother of God, blessed among women, and the most holy Family of Nazareth as the exemplars to be followed above all others, as models of the dignity and holiness of chaste wedlock, as patterns of the holy education to be given youth. Finally that no liturgical detail be lacking, he decreed that the feast of the Divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary be celebrated annually on the 11th day of October by the universal Church with a proper Mass and Office under the rite of a double of the second class.

A Homily of St. Bernard, Abbot

Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Mary called God, the Lord of Angels, her son. Which of the angels would have dared to do so? It is enough for them, and they reckon it is a great thing, that, being naturally spirits, they should receive the grace of being made and called angels, as witness David: Who maketh spirits his angels. But Mary, knowing herself to be his Mother, doth boldly apply the word Son to that Majesty whom the angels do serve with awe; neither doth God despise to be called what he hath made himself. For a little after, the Evangelist saith: And he was subject unto them. Who to whom? God to men. I say that God, unto whom the angels are subject, and who is obeyed by the Principalities and Powers, was subject to Mary.
     Marvel thou at both these things, and choose whether to marvel most at the sublime condescension of the Son, or at the sublime dignity of Mary. Either is amazing, either marvellous. That God should obey this woman, is a lowliness without parallel; that this woman should rule over God, an exaltation without match. In praise of virgins, and of virgins only, is it sung that These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Of what praise then thinkest thou that she must be worthy who even leadeth the Lamb? O man, learn to obey. O earth, learn to submit. O dust, learn to keep down. It is of thy Maker that the Evangelist saith: And he was subject unto them. Blush, O proud ashes. God humbleth himself; and dost thou exalt thyself? God is subject unto men; and wilt thou, by striving to rule over men, set thyself before thy Maker?
     O happy Mary, lowly and virgin; and wondrous virginity, which motherhood destroyed not, but exalted; and wondrous lowliness, which the fruitful virginity took not away, but ennobled; and wondrous motherhood, which was both virgin and lowly. Which of them is not wondrous? which of them is not unexampled? and which of them doth not stand alone? The wonder would be if thou wert not puzzled at which to wonder most: motherhood in a virgin, or virginity in a mother; a motherhood so exalted, or lowliness in such exaltation. But indeed more marvellous than any one of these things is the combination of them all, and without all comparison, it is more excellent and more blessed to have received them all, than to have received any one of them alone. What wonder is it that God, of whom we see and read, that He is wonderful in his holy places, should have shewn himself wonderful in his Mother? O ye that be married, honour this incorruption in corruptible flesh; O holy maidens, gaze in wonder at motherhood in a maid; O, all mankind, take pattern by the lowliness of the Mother of God.