The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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The Circumcision of Jesus and Mary's Motherhood (and Joseph's Fatherhood!)

Canisius | 01 January, 2006 20:50

Today is the Feast of the Circumcision on the old calendar. Today is the Solemnity of the Mother of God. From what Gueranger says, today has always been a feast in honor of Mary's motherhood, but now they have changed the name to reflect that fact and have made it more important in the liturgical calendar. The gospel reading for Mass is still the same, as are many of the antiphons for the office.

There is a bit of a connection between the circumcision of Jesus and the motherhood of Mary. The natural goal of marriage is to have a child and perpetuate the human race, of course, but marriage within the Jewish people was special: they were not just building up the human race, but building up the Kingdom of God, namely his chosen people. The purpose of a Jewish marriage was not just to have a child, but to bring forth a new member of God’s people. Jesus was a child when he was born, but it was his circumcision that inducted him into God’s people, Israel. So there is a sense of fulfilment for every Jewish mother when her child is circumcised–and especially for Mary, who knew that her child would one day save his people!

There is also a connection with Joseph’s surrogate fatherhood. The day a baby was circumcised was also the day that he was named, so Joseph performed his special duty of naming the child and thus legally claiming the child as his own on the eighth day after Jesus’ birth. So today is also the day that Joseph became Jesus’ legal father.


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