The little known feast of Our Lady of Expectation occurs on December 18, a week before Christmas and a time the Church refers to as “the Week of Expectation.” It originated in Spain at the Tenth Council of Toledo (AD 656) and was granted to the faithful who felt that because the Annunciation always falls during Lent, there is insufficient time given to celebrate the exalted state of Our Lady’s divine maternity. The Feast of Our Lady of Expectation arose as a substitute and came to be known as a “mini-Annunciation.”
The responsorial psalm sung in the Votive Mass on this feast recounts the story of King David making way for the solemn entry of God into the sanctuary of the Temple. “Now, this new sanctuary the heavenly King of glory will enter into is the purest womb of the Virgin Mary, a bridal chamber of adoration,” writes the late Fr. Marian Zalecki, OSPPE.
It is during this special week that we are given the gift of time to contemplate the joyful hope of Our Lady in the final days of her wait for the birth of the Redeemer and the moment when she will gaze for the first time upon the face of her God.
The novena to Our Lady of Expectation begins on Dec. 8 and ends on Dec. 17.
Pray one Father, one Hail Mary, one Glory Be, and one Apostle’s Creed.
V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit
Let us pray:
Almighty and ever-living God, by whose power the Incarnate Word found a worthy dwelling in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that by her intercession we may be given abundant blessings in our earthly pilgrimage and come to the joys of the eternal life to come. We ask this through her only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.