Mother of God

December 31

Eve of the Feast of Mary, Mother of God

Mother benign of our redeeming Lord,

Star of the sea and portal of the skies,

Unto thy fallen people help afford –

Fallen, but striving still anew to rise.

Thou who dids’t once, while wond’ring

worlds adored,

Bear thy Creator, Virgin then as now,

O by thy holy joy at Gabriel’s word,

Pity the sinners who before thee bow.

-Roman Breviary, Antiphon of the Blessed Virgin

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So patient, so peaceful

December 26

Her Feet Shod with Holiness

And, if our faith had given us nothing more

Than this Example, of all Womanhood,

So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good,

So patient, so peaceful, loyal, loving pure –

This were enough to prove it higher and truer

Than all the creeds the world had known before.

Virgin, who lovest the poor and lonely,

If the loud cry of a mother’s heart

Can ever ascend to where thou art,

Into thy blessed hands and holy

Receive my prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

Let the hands that bore our Savior bear it

Into the awful presence of God;

For thy feet with holiness are shod,

And, if thou bearest it, he will hear it.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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How swiftly the shepherds respond!

December 25

Tall men were these, the shepherds come from flocks

And wearing sheephides with the dew still wet

Upon the wool…

No further movement

Till the youngest, kneeling still, moved on

From out the rest, and when his eyes had marked

The swaddling bands… and did not shrink at what he saw.

The full words spilled out to her in eagerness

Of quiet flocks, the brightness of the sky…

The music that had sifted

Down, more fragile than the light of stars…

The upswept choirs and surge and flight of wings:

I bring you tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: for this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger…Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.

(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)

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She knelt and held Him close

December 24

She…wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid

Him in a manger.

She knelt and held Him close against her heart,

And in the midnight, adoration fused

With human love, and was not separate.

And very near, the man named Joseph came.

He was the first

To find her thus, the first of all the world.

And when her faint smile called for him to take

Him for a breathless moment, he was first

To know there is no other blessedness.

(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)

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