January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary
January 1st is the Eighth Day of Christmas! There are 12 of them, you know. And this day is also celebrated as the Solemnity of Mary.
The use of the word “Solemnity” here is not a statement about Mary’s personality. It is a designation used for certain days within the liturgical calendar of the Church. Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials. By celebrating a solemnity dedicated to Mary’s motherhood, the Church highlights the significance of her part in the life of Jesus, and emphasizes that He is both human and Divine.
Mary’s role as the earthly mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan.
Her cousin Elizabeth proclaimed: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42, 43)
To quote from Vatican II, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The Blessed Virgin was eternally predestined, in conjunction with the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. By decree of divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving mother of the divine Redeemer, an associate of unique nobility, and the Lord’s humble handmaid. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ.”
And the Lord, Jesus, dying on the Cross, presented Mary to be our mother also:
When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (John 19: 26, 27)