Why more Marian feasts than ones for Jesus?


#1

The local (national) councils of bishops have jurisdiction over the establishment of holy days of obligation. If the pastor at the parish in Switzerland told you that the feast of Mary the Mother of God is not observed as a day of obligation, then he is most likely telling you what the council of bishops has decided.

On a further note, I found this morning in the new calendar issued by my parish in the US, a list of no less than 17 Marian feasts on the liturgical calendar. Three of these are holy days of obligation in the US. We celebrate her parents for doing a good job raising her; we celebrate her conception and her presentation; we celebrate the announcement that she will bear the Messiah; we celebrate her visit to Elizabeth, her delivery of the Messiah and her membership in the Holy Family. We celebrate her assumption into heaven and her Queenship (of the Universe, Angels, Martyrs, Apostles, Saints, etc.). We celebrate her various apparitions at Lourdes, Lasalette, Fatima and Guadalupe. We celebrate her for her sorrows and the rosary. We also celebrate the dedication of the church dedicated to her in Rome (St. Mary Major). You would think that two or three celebrations would suffice but we get at least 18 by my count and two months dedicated to her (May and November). My biggest beef is that the Curialist had to steal Jesus’ Jewishness (Bris or circumcision) in order to put Mary the Mother of God in at January 1. Give me back the feast of the circumcision; we have more than enough Marian feasts.

Matthew


#2

Drafdog, I do hope that your last line was facetious. If it is not, then it appears that you have a poor understanding of Marian feasts.

You also have some inaccuracies in your post. The Church dedicates May and October to the Blessed Mother. The Annunciation is not a Marian feast, per se. It is the moment when Jesus Christ was conceived, setting the wheels in motion for our salvation. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is not only a Holy Day of Obligation; it is also the patronal feast here in the United States because the Immaculate Conception is the Patroness of our country. We celebrate Mary’s Assumption into heaven because the real Ark of the Covenant has taken her rightful place with her Son.

Your statement regarding Jesus’ circumcision reflects a somewhat poor understanding of what our Church celebrates. While it is true that the circumsicion marks the first time that Jesus sheds his Blood for us, you need not be so disgruntled regarding this day being celebrated as a Marian feast. Mary is celebrated as the Mother of God because an early Church council declared her to be Theokotos, affiriming Jesus’ Divinity and Humanity. This feast celebrates the fact that Jesus is true God and true Man because his Father is God and his Mother is Mary.

Now, two days later, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Furthermore, the calendar has several other feasts dedicated to Jesus. Along with the Sundays in Ordinary Time (which are feasts of the Lord), the Church also marks the Presentation of the Child Jesus, the Annunciation, the feast of the Sacred Heart, the Triumph of the Holy Cross, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Solemnity of Christ the King, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord; the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord; the Feast of the Epiphany; Christmas; the Paschal Triduum; and the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter.


#3

And what is wrong with honoring Our Mother, the Mother of Our Lord and Savior? You make it sound like she should be treated as a regular Saint. I am truly sorry that you do not see the significance in Mary’s role in our Church, but based upon the number of feasts/celebrations/etc., the Church surely does!


#4

When I was a lone evangelical Lutheran at the Latin school, I was the only one in “Our Catholic Faith” class that could name all the HDOs.

When did January 1 become a Marian feast for you all? Has it gone the way of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, a/k/a when it was instituted “the Meeting of the Lord/Entrance of the Lord into the Temple?” Its things like this that give rise to Mariolatry.

January 1 was the Holy Name of Jesus when I went to school.
Annunciation technically might be a feast of the Lord, but His mother (or I should say, her devotees) have overshadowed it. It was known as Lady’s Day (and also at the time, New Years Day).
It is however, the source of all her honor, if you are Orthodox (if you are Latin, the IC would be).

Something, I am afraid, is lopsided when she has more feasts as her Son, which a previous poster pointed out.

Why is she commemorated at the Octave, when Christmas has 5more days to go (remember TWELVE days of Christmas? It starts, NOT ends, with Christmas).

This fear of missing a HDO, combined with not knowing when it is, makes me glad I’m Orthodox. We think it a privilege to celebrate the 12 great feasts.


#5

I don’t think you read my previous post wherein I listed all of the feasts dedicated to Our Lord. Incidentally, the Feast of the Presentation, which falls on Februay 2nd, marks the first time that God physically entered His Temple when the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Church celebrates this feast 40 days after Christmas. In the old Calendar, the Christmas season ended on this day.

The Church does celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus on January 3. Furthermore the Feast of the Annunciation is not Marian, per se. It marks the time that Jesus was conceived in the womb of the holy Virgin of Nazareth. Nonetheless, the Marian feasts always turn our thoughts and hearts to God. Remember, tthe Lord, in his plan of salvation, applied the merits of His Son’s sacrifice to Mary in order to preserve her from the stain of sin so as to prepare a fitting dwelling for the Eternal Word. As Catholics, we do not worship Mary; we worship God alone. However, we venerate Mary as she is the Theotokos, the Mother of God, which is what the January 1st feast proclaims.

While you list yourself as Orthodox, I still read some shades of Lutheranism in your post regarding Mary.


#6

I’m just with the Latin St. Bernared of Clairvaux that the IC is overdoing it, and with the other Latin St. Boneventure that it is “foreign” to the Catholic Faith. St. Bernard was the promoter of devotion to the Theotokos, but insisted on its proper bounds.

I (and Luther) am this side of Mary compared to St. John Chrysostom: he was somewhat critical.

The placing of Jesus Name on January 3 has no basis to it that I can see (if I were Latin, it would be my name’s day: Isa is Arabic for Jesus).

I saw the list. The Marian ones still predominate. We have 4 marian (Theotokia, including Annuciation) and 8 dominical (on top of this, Pascha).


#7

First of all, what does IC mean?

Second, please allow me to quote from my previous post regarding the countdown of feasts:

Now, two days later, January 3rd, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Furthermore, the calendar has several other feasts dedicated to Jesus. Along with the Sundays in Ordinary Time (which are feasts of the Lord), the Church also marks the Presentation of the Child Jesus, the Annunciation, the feast of the Sacred Heart, the Triumph of the Holy Cross, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Solemnity of Christ the King, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord; the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord; the Feast of the Epiphany; Christmas; the Paschal Triduum; and the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter.

Perhaps because you are Orthodox, you don’t realize that the Church counts all Sundays as feasts of the Lord, as I mentioned in this exerpt from my own post. Count the feasts I enumerated and then tell me just how the Marian feasts outnumber the feasts of the Lord.


#8

Isa, so that you may see the liturgical hierarch, I submit to you the Proclamation of the Date of Easter that is sung each year during the Feast of the Epiphany:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us until the day of his return. Through rhythms of times and seasons, let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his Last Supper, his Crucifixion, his burial and his rising, celebrated between the evening of the 20th of March and the evening of the 23rd of March.

Each Easter-as on each Sunday-the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has forever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the 6th of February. The Ascension of the Lord will be commenmorated on the 1st (4th) of May. Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the 11th of May. And, this year, the First Sunday of Advent will be on the 30th of November.l

Likewise, the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother or God, in the feasts of Apostles and Saints and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Therefore, those of you who are critical of the Marian feasts unfortunately do not take into account the second to the last paragraph of this Proclamation.

To the moderator, I realize that this is a long post, but, I have had a hard time finding the Epiphany Proclamation online. I posted it in its entirety to show those who do not understand the importance of Marian feasts that these liturgies find their orientation in the Passover of Christ.


#9

Immaculate Conception.

Second, please allow me to quote from my previous post regarding the countdown of feasts:

Perhaps because you are Orthodox, you don’t realize that the Church counts all Sundays as feasts of the Lord, as I mentioned in this exerpt from my own post. Count the feasts I enumerated and then tell me just how the Marian feasts outnumber the feasts of the Lord.

I don’t have a NO missal, just the St. Joseph ('61).

It lists 19 Feasts of the Lord. It lists 21 of the Blessed Virgin Mary (btw, including the Annunciaton).

One of the "Lord’s feasts includes the Holy Family. The Holy Name and the Octave of Christmas, now Marian

November is Marian, May is Marian. That enough to outnumber all the Sundays of the year.

Btw, in the Constinopolitan rite, every Wednesday is dedicated to the Theotokos (besides the betrayal and Cross, hence a fast day).

Yes, I’m aware Sunday is the Lord’s (most language’s reflect that, e.g. Greek Kyriake "the Lord’s (day). And if a Marian feast occurs on it (or close, if it is transferred) who gets bumped?


#10

Now, inasmuch as St. Bernard of Clairvoix is a great saint, even his opinions on the Immaculate Conception don’t trump Church dogma and doctrine. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was declared ex cathedra by Pope Pius IX in 1854. It is a doctrine of the Church. St. Thomas Aquainas had his own Marian issues; however, Church doctrine trumps his qualms.

In the current schema, May and October are dedicated to Mary, but, that is not to say that all of the Masses are in her honor. It just mean that particular care is placed in devotions to her during those two months.

The only time that a Marian feast will be celebrated on a Sunday is when August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption, falls on that day. Even then, when feasts such as the Solemity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, All Saints Day, the Feast of the Transfiguration, the Conversion of St. Paul and the Triumph of the Holy Cross fall on a Sunday, the Church celebrates those particular Feasts.

By the way, during Advent, the feas of the Immaculate Conception is moved to December 9th when the 8th falls on a Sunday. Sundays of Advent trump all other feasts, including Marian. This causes the Mexican Catholics some serious consternations when December 12th (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) falls on a Sunday. However, Advent Sundays trump all other solemnities.

Please read the Proclamation of the Date of Easter that I posted earlier. This will shed some light to your questions. Part of your problem and the OP’s, I suspect, is that you are still going by the 1961 Missal. Even the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is going by the 1962, which has different dates from the 1961, if I understand the schema correctly. Nonetheless, you can’t be comparing apples to oranges when it comes to both missals.


#11

The Most Holy Name was not attached to January 1, but rather to the Sunday after Jan 1 (Or in certain years when the 1, 6 or 7 fell on a Sunday, January 2). January 1 was reserved for the circumcision. Prior to St. Pius X, the Holy Name was observed on Sunday II after Epiphany

As to why it is the name change, it is not a Mariolatorial thing. Even when the day was titled Circumcision of the Lord, it had a Marian character. At Vespers, the psalms used werethose of the BVM, the antiphons commemorate her. The Collect of the Mass, which defines the liturgical day was actually all about her intercession and role as the Mother of God.

The reason for this is that January 1 was, originally in Rome, the Marian feast. It is the only feast native to our liturgy- all the other Marian feasts were borrowed from the East or sprung up much later. That is why when under Gallician influence the Circumcision was given prominence, the conservative Romans only mentioned it in the Gospel and no where else.

Why is she commemorated on the 8th day? Because the 8th day of octave always commemorates an especial link with the feast given the mystical significance attached to it by the Fathers, regarding the new creation. We do not commemorate our Lady on Christmas so as not to detract from the birth of our Lord- but we honour her as Mother of God on the day that has the closest link with it.

Moreover the 12th day is reserved for the preparation of the manifestation of Christ- thus one cannot fully observe the solemnity of a feast befitting the role of our Lady in the Incarnation.

Post partum Virgo inviolata permansisti: Dei Genetrix, intercede pro nobis!


#12

Everything I’ve learned about the feast of Mary Mother of God told me that it’s the oldest Marian Feast that we have. It’s been celebrated all over the calendar through the centuries.

It’s always seemed a shame that they decided to put this feast on January 1st, a day when you can barely get people out of bed, let alone out of bed, washed, dressed and ready to worship God & revere his Mother.


#13

Isa:
You seem to have an inaccurate underestanding of Marian devotion. Perhaps St. Louis’ “True Devotion” would be of help, or even any writings of your own Greek Fathers on Our Blessed Mother. All devotion to Mary has as its goal and ultimate objective the glorification and adoration of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Mary is honored as the Mother of God—that is, the Mother of Jesus. To praise Her is to praise Christ. One can not praise the masterpiece without praising the creator as well. Mary is the vessl through which the Incarnation occured. So if a Marian feast fell on a Sunday (though I’m not sure this is possible, I think it might be transferred) one can easily worship the Lord and venerate Our Lady without one taking away from the other! It is absurd to suggest that venerating Our Lady could take away from the worship due to Christ…Our Lady by her very nature always directs us towards and brings us closer to Our Lord. According to your own Greek Fathers Mary has been entrusted with the entire treasury of God’s grace on our behalf.

You are also in error to suggest that Mary’s glory for us Latins stems primarily from her immaculate conception rather than her divine motherhood. The immaculate conception was simply in PREPRATION for her ultimate vocation…to be the Mother of God and the human instrument of the Incarnation.

You pointed out that every Wednesday is dedicated to Mary in the East. Why, then, are you so critical of the Latin practices? Also keep in mind how much more emphasis your own Byzantine DL places on the Blessed Mother than does the Pauline Mass.


#14

You mean Pius IX trumps SS Bernard and Thomas in the Latin church.

Please read the Proclamation of the Date of Easter that I posted earlier. This will shed some light to your questions. Part of your problem and the OP’s, I suspect, is that you are still going by the 1961 Missal. Even the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is going by the 1962, which has different dates from the 1961, if I understand the schema correctly. Nonetheless, you can’t be comparing apples to oranges when it comes to both missals.

I might be missing something, but it doesn’t seem to refer to moving feasts. I don’t doubt your word, and I am assuming I haven’t the context of NO liturgics (I’m more familiar with the pre Vatican II Western calendar because it is what the Western Rite Orthodox use, I have the St. Joseph missal, etc. Most of my exposure to NO was High Scool, a couple years ago).

It was just a little jarring to see what was described as the Holy Name of Jesus/World Day of Peace now the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin.

Btw, someone mentioned the Octave. Our equavalent is the Synaxis, and it varies (usually the day after the feast, e.g. the 26 is our equivalent of the Solemnity of the Theotokos).

Someone gave the history of it being the original feast of the Thetokos at Rome, which with the liturgical principle of the Octave, and the absence of the Annuciation at the time, makes sense.

My problem with most Latin devotions is that instead of going through the Theotokos to her Son, they get sidetracked onto her. The absence of Christ with images of the Theotokos (never happens, except e.g. her birth, in Orthodox iconography). However, for instance the Angelus is a Marian devotion, but is very Christocentric.

Which is more in line with what Orthodox do in devotions to the Theotokos, e.g. the Theotokion of Christmas:

Magnify O my soul
her who is beyond compare more hononrable
and more glorious than the heavenly hosts.
A mystery I behold,
Strange and wonderous!
Heaven, the cave!
And the Virgin the Throne of Cherubim!
Within the noble confines of the Manger
Is laid the Infinite, Christ Our God!
Whom we magnify in song!

When you visit a new mother, I dare say she wouldn’t be pleased (if she is a good mother) if you dwelled on how well she looked, etc. instead of oogling over her baby. Some Latins devotions make me think the Theotokos has the same feeling.

Btw your comment on my Lutheranism: when I was in high school, many used to say the Hail Mary just to aggravate me. I am sure many would drop dead if they knew I now say the Angelus-and in Latin!


#15

You’re right: the DL of New Rome has at least more references to the Theotkos as the DL of Old Rome. The DL is divided by the frequent “Commemorationg our most holy, most pure and most glorious Lady, the Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, together with all the saints: Let us commend ourselves, each other, together with all our lives unto Christ Our God…”

So I have nothing against Latin Marian devotions. Just excesses (e.g. IC, and the looming Co-redemtrix).

The Rosary is Marian, it is also focused on Christ. The Angelus is Marian. It is also very Christocentric (I pray it myself, although it is not part of our tradition). Some Novenas I’ve seen aren’t so focused (but I have to admit, I have seen the practice of Novenas as subject to much abuse).

Btw, in case anyone is interested, the weekly cycle from Constantinople is Sunday: Resurrection, Monday: Angels, Tuesday: St. John the Forerunner (and the prophets), Wednesday: Thetokos and the Betrayal (a contrast of course), Thursday: Apostles (and St. Nicholas), Friday: Cross, Saturday: Forefathers and the Departed.

I think the distinction between Assumption/Dormition shows the difference in the devotions of the Latins and Orthodox on the Theotokos.


#16

every feast about Mary enunciates a doctrine about Jesus Christ.
The Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God enunciates precisely the same doctrine that was presented (using the identical Gospel reading) when the feast on the Roman Calendar was called the Circumcision of the Lord. Namely that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, fully human and fully divine, two natures in one Person completely and wholely united, indivisible.

Nothing the Church teaches or celebrates about Mary is about Mary, it is all about Jesus, and as Truths about Jesus were challenged, the relevant doctrine was definitely proclaimed and because of the foundational mystery of the Incarnation, inevitably Truth about Mary and her role and God’s action in her life must be defined as well.


#17

Forgive me for jumping in without reading every post but in case no one has said it: every Sunday is a Feast of Jesus or the Holy Trinity and no Marian feast ever takes precedence over the Sunday Feast and Liturgy. Hope that helps.

(Plus what Annie said!)


#18

Now to confuse you (not the intent, but I think that will be the result):

The Annunciation is a Marian feast, and if it falls on a weekday the DL is celebrated (in Lent DL is only celebrated on Saturday and Sunday).

If it Falls on Good Friday or Holy Saturday, it is still celebrated.

If it falls on Pascha (Easter) not only is it still celbrated, but it’s hymns continue on throughout the folllowing week. This is called Kyriopascha, and one such coincidence is when, in 1821 Archbishop Germanos raised the flag against the Ottomans in Greece at Patra, the resting place of St. Andrew, saying “liberty or death,” from which the Greeks date their independence from the Turkocratia.


#19

You haven’t confused me. I’m Roman Catholic and can only comment on the practices familiar to me in the Latin Rite.


#20

First of all, the teachings and declarations made by the Pope ex cathedra trump the opinions of the saints, as in the case of the saint you mentioned. The Church holds dogmatic and doctrinal what comes down from the Magesterium. Just because St. Bernard of Clairvoix may have had his issues regarding the Blessed Mother, that is not to say that the Church is bound to follow him. She is bound to follow Peter, as Jesus gave him and his successors the authority to bind and loosen.

Regarding today’s Solemnity, I hope that you had a chance to catch the Holy Father’s homily on EWTN this morning. He gave a good explanation regarding the movement of the feast. The feast was moved from October 11th to January 1st by Pope Paul VI, as it fit the divine Maternity of the Blessed Mother to have the day moved to Christmas. Furthermore, he said that while this is a Marian feast (the oldest of the Marian feasts) and we contemplate her Divine Maternity today, the readings point to a deeper Christological meaning as they speak of the circumcision (wherein marking the first time that Jesus shed his blood) and the naming of the Holy Child, which also took place during the circumcision. In essence, he said that devotion to Mary always leads to worship of Her Son. Through her Divine Motherhood, she gave Her Son his human nature.


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