The Feast of the MATERNITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: Missa “Ecce Virgo concipiet”
All Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. This does not mean that she is not a creature of God, nor that God did not exist before she was created. It means that He Who was her Son was a Divine Person. In Christ there are two natures- the nature of God and the nature of man; but in Him there is only one Person, a Divine Person, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Hence all that may be predicated of either nature may with propriety be said of the Savior in the concrete form, without distinguishing the two natures. So we may say that God was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We then refer to the Person of the Son of God, Who is both God and Man. Christ, Who is God, was born according to His human nature of the Blessed Virgin. She is, therefore, truly the Mother of God.
When Mary of Nazareth conceived in her womb the Word of God, that conception was the effect of the fullness of her grace, and of an action of the Holy Ghost which occurred in her soul first of all, thereby making of her flesh a tabernacle and a sanctuary. The dignity of the Mother of God is her great sanctity, it is the incomparable grace which raises her above all the Angels, the grace in which she was predestined and created for this glorious purpose. By the acts of her blessed Maternity, she bordered on divinity while remaining entirely human. In this way she seems to exhaust, as it were, the power of God — the fullness of the grace accorded her cannot be surpassed. It is easier for us to conceive of the greatness of Mary, however, when we consider her maternity of the Mystical Body, the Church, which like herself is entirely human, and composed of persons who are very far indeed from being what our Savior was, a Divine Person incarnate.
INTROIT Isaias 7: 14
Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. (Ps. 97: 1) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Behold a Virgin…
God, Who wast pleased that at the angel’s message Thy Word should take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that, believing her to be truly the mother of God, we may be assisted by her intercessions with Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE Wisdom 24: 23-31
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that harkeneth to me shall not be confounded, and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Isaias 11: 1,2
There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. V. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him. Alleluia, alleluia. V. O Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot contain, being made man, imprisons Himself in thy womb. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 2: 43-51
At that time, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him amongst their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found, Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth: and was subject to them.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHONMatthew 1: 18
When His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Through Thy mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of blessed Mary, ever a virgin, the Mother of Thine only-begotten Son, may our oblation profit us for eternal and for present prosperity and peace. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. That on the Festival of the blessed Virgin Mary, we should praise, bless and proclaim Thee. For she conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost; and losing not the glory of her virginity, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the Dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly Hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Hebrews 9: 28
Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.
May this communion, O Lord, purge away our guilt and, by the intercession of blessed Mary the Mother of God, make us companions of Him, Who is our Heavenly healing. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.