The Holy Mother of God

Today is the octave day of Christmastide, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, in whose Incarnate Son we experience the fullness of the priest’s blessing from the book of Numbers, “The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

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In Florence, near the Duomo. The quotation is from Dante’s Paradiso, with the translation given below.

Virgin Mother, daughter of your Son,
humbler and loftier past creation’s measure,
the fulcrum of the everlasting plan,

You are she who ennobled human nature
so highly, that its Maker did not scorn
to make Himself the Creature of His creature.

In your womb was the flame of love reborn,
in the eternal peace of whose warm ray
this flower has sprung and is so richly grown.
~ Dante, Paradiso XXXIII, translation by Anthony Esolen

The Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed Theotokos, God-bearer, Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The Empress Pulcheria (399-455) who was later designated a saint of the church was very supportive of this declaration despite the opposition of Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople.

Below is the Basilica of the Annuncation in Nazareth.

Over the door it reads, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

The dome is an inverted lily.