Agiosoritissa (Mother of God) Icon – 7th century, one of the oldest images of Mary
On this Octave Day of Christmas we begin 2017, as we begin every new year, under the patronage of Mary, Mother of God. May she keep us safe in her maternal embrace as we face the blessings and the crosses God has in store for us this year.
The above is one of the oldest images of the Mother of God, dating from the 7th century. And this Egyptian papyrus fragment contains the oldest known prayer to the Theotokos (Bearer of God), dating from the third century. This is written in Greek, but you would be familiar with its Latin name, the Sub Tuum. There is an informative little article about it here, as well as a link to hear the prayer chanted in the original Greek.
Merry Christmas! That’s right, it’s still Christmas, in fact, it’s the Octave Day of the celebration of Our Lord’s Birth. Of course, it’s also New Year’s Day, and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. You may be wondering why today’s feast has such importance (it’s a holy day of obligation) and why we celebrate it on New Year’s Day. Jimmy Akin wrote a very informative piece about it in the National Catholic Register yesterday, which you can read here.
As we mentioned yesterday, it has been our tradition to chant the Te Deum after Mass on January 1st, thanking God for the gift of a new year. We hope you enjoy this video featuring the monks of Solesmes chanting the Te Deum.
May God fill you with blessings and graces throughout the new year!