The Solemnity of Mary honors the Virgin as Mother of God on January 1.
It’s the octave of Christmas. Octaves are an old Christian tradition of celebrating events for eight days. There were so many octaves that they were reduced in the Roman Catholic church in 1568. After 1955, Catholics only celebrate octaves of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. Other branches of Christianity have their own traditions.
The Solemnity of Mary Teaches that Motherhood is Sacred
It’s the birth of a new year and everyone has a mother. Celebrating a birth is a celebration of mother and child.
Children bring people together. Notice on the subway how many of us close up with our “don’t bother me, I’m not here face.” But when there’s a child present, most people open up and turn all googoo and gaga.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ashamed that our country is now known for practicing the old slaver’s tactic of family separation. If mother’s and children aren’t sacred, then nothing is.
Old time New Yorkers tell me that when they were kids, they ran the block. If you were hungry or hurt, you could go into any home on the street and receive care and mothering.
In the new year, let’s work on putting our country back together. We can respect other people the way we respect our own mothers and children. We owe it to our moms and we definitely owe it to the little ones. They are our future.
The Virgin we chose to contemplate on this day is La Moreneta (the little dark one), the Virgin of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain. She is one of the Black Madonnas.
She used to carry an inscription “Nigra Sum Sed Formosa” which is Latin for “I am black and beautiful.”
I am black and beautifulHistoric inscription on La Moreneta
She holds the world in her hand.
The child’s hand is raised in the traditional eastern Christian blessing. It’s not exactly the same, but the expression reminds me of Balanchine hands at New York City Ballet. Tremendous energy flows through those hands.