15 August 2009

Festival of St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord

Today our Synod celebrates the Festival of St. Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. Yes, I wished too that it had been called St. Mary, Mother of God. No question that's what we teach ("therefore she is truly the Mother of God and yet has remained a virgin" SD VIII:24), but the terminology of St. Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:43), is what won the day when LSB was prepared.

Today's collect gets right to the heart of what we celebrate today:

...You chose Mary to be the mother of Your only Son. Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of Your eternal kingdom...

As Luther said (in what I quoted yesterday), God in his Word hasn't revealed the mystery of how she was taken to heaven (though the curious absence of relics of St. Mary may speak volumes all by itself), and it is enough for us to know that St. Mary, with all believers, lives in her Son forevermore. And thus today our prayer is that the God who has exalted her and given her triumph over death may do the same for us and bring us to share with her in the glory of His eternal kingdom.

In her body she made an earthly home for the Eternal Word, that through the body and blood He assumed from her He might make an eternal home for her and all her race. "'Arise, O Lord, into Your rest, You, and the ark of Your sanctuary.' For the holy Virgin is truly an ark, made with gold within and without, who has received the whole treasury of the Holy of Holies." (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Treasury, p. 1287)

"My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name!"

Indeed, we hear her voice ringing through the Introit today, summoning all her children: "O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!" Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen!


Anonymous said...

Who would dare to hawk a "relic" of Mary after the Church had decided on her bodily assumption into heaven, in folklore if not officially?


Anonymous said...

"Today our Synod celebrates the Festival of St. Mary, the Mother of Our Lord."

Our Synod does? (maybe a very small handful of congregations do)

William Weedon said...

Dear Anon,

Sad but true. Perhaps it should have been worded: "Today is the day our Synod appoints in our official calendar for the festival of St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord." Next year, when it falls on a Sunday, we will likely have many more parishes celebrating the festival. Still, the many users of the Treasury will celebrate the Festival in their personal prayers.

Here's a fine homily, though, for the Festival from Pastor Stuckwisch:


christl242 said...

In addition to Treasury users, Portals of Prayer readers will be alerted to St. Mary's day.

Every bit helps!