January 1: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
The Eighth Day of Christmas
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
All people who have studied birth and the infant in the birth processes have concluded that it is indeed often a trauma and a frightful thing to be born. To come from the waters and safety and security of the womb into the new element of the world in which one breathes air and is severed from contact and warmth seems to be a journey which is violent and difficult for the new organism. So, too, our death is a birth into another element, another dimension, a separation from the womb of this life and the concrete ways of knowing what the earth has given us. Mother earth is hard to leave. The earliest remains of graves of primitve man reveal bodies put into the earth in the fetal position. So, too, some of the earliest religious stirrings and beliefs turned to a mother goddess to ease the transition from life to death. We may know God as mother and Christ as mother and the Spirit as mother, but the sense of Mary as mother is easier for us to grasp, having each had a mother in the flesh. Her exaltation as mother gives us hope and helps us to bear the approach of death.
Sidney Callahan, The Magnificat