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January 1

Solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God


On the 8th Day of Christmas....
(The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes)

The Story of Mary, Mother of God

Mary’s divine motherhood broadens the Christmas spotlight. Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. She consents to God’s invitation conveyed by the angel (Luke 1:26-38). Elizabeth proclaims: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42-43, emphasis added). Mary’s role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan.

Without naming Mary, Paul asserts that “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Paul’s further statement that “God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out ‘Abba, Father!’“ helps us realize that Mary is mother to all the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

Some theologians also insist that Mary’s motherhood of Jesus is an important element in God’s creative plan. God’s “first” thought in creating was Jesus. Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the one who could give God perfect love and worship on behalf of all creation. As Jesus was “first” in God’s mind, Mary was “second” insofar as she was chosen from all eternity to be his mother.

The precise title “Mother of God” goes back at least to the third or fourth century. In the Greek form Theotokos (God-bearer), it became the touchstone of the Church’s teaching about the Incarnation. The Council of Ephesus in 431 insisted that the holy Fathers were right in calling the holy virgin Theotokos. At the end of this particular session, crowds of people marched through the street shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!” The tradition reaches to our own day. In its chapter on Mary’s role in the Church, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church calls Mary “Mother of God” 12 times.,_Mother_of_God





31°46'48"N, 35°14'23"E


The tomb of the Virgin Mary

at the foot of the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem's Old City


Song of the season:


Ave Maria
Sorry there are so many examples of this song but each are amazing



On the eighth day of Christmas ...



“On the eighth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eight Maids A-Milking…”

What is the symbolism behind this eighth day?

What are the gifts of riches, nourishment, and love that God (our “True Love”) gives to us?

The “eight Maids A-Milking” represent the eight Beatitudes mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-10.

The Beatitudes are to the New Testament what the Ten Commandments were to the Old Testament.

The Beatitudes are the ethics of a Christian. The Beatitudes tell us how to love God and love one another, which is the fulfillment of everything the Old Testament teaches (Matthew 22:40).

In the same way a wedding ring symbolizes unending love, so the Beatitudes demonstrate we are the Bride of Christ.

The Beatitudes start with the word “blessed.” This word goes beyond simply being happy and wealthy to meaning peace, contentment, purpose, wholeness, and security.


The eight Beatitudes are…

1) Blessed are the “poor in spirit.” 
    (v. 3 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of brokenness.)

2) Blessed are “those who mourn”. 

    (v. 4 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of sorrow over sin.)

3) Blessed are the “meek.” 

    (v. 5 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of gentleness, patience,and strength).

4) Blessed are “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” 

    (v. 6 – Blessed are those who have a deep desire and longing for God, & an attitude to always do what          is right.)

5) Blessed the “merciful.” 

    (v. 7 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of compassion.)

6) Blessed are the “pure in heart.” 

    (v. 8 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of holiness,which is not sinless perfection but the desire        to sin less and less.)

7) Blessed are the “peacemakers.” 

    (v. 9 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation.)

8) Blessed are “those who are persecuted because of righteousness.” 

    (v. 10 – Blessed are those who have an attitude of honor and duty, willing to sacrifice everything for the        cause of Christ.)

The Beatitudes are gifts given to us by our True Love, because on our own we do not have the strength and ability to display these attitudes.

On the eighth day of Christmas our True Love gives us the desire, ability, and commitment

(like an engagement ring) to live out what we believe.

What wonderful gift the Beatitudes are!

1_Триптих Мадонна с Младенцем и св Анной



Something to think about...

What do Catholic's call Mary....
How many Titles does she have?
Great question!
Is this confusing....YES!


1. Mary, Holy Mother of God

2. Holy Virgin of Virgins
3. Mother of the Church
4. Mother of Divine Grace

5. Mother of Good Counsel

6. Virgin Most Merciful

7. Mirror of Justice

8. Seat of Wisdom

9. Mystical Rose

10. Tower of David

11. Tower of Ivory

12. Ark of the Covenant

13. Gate of Heaven

14. Morning Star

15. Conceived Without Original Sin

16. Comforter of the Afflicted

17. Queen of Angels

18. Queen of all Saints

19. Queen Assumed into Heaven

20. Queen of the Holy Rosary

21. Undoer of Knots

22. Star of the Sea

23. Mother Most Sorrowful

24. Mother Thrice Admirable

25. Mother of Perpetual Help

26. Refuge of Sinners

27. Our Lady of Guadalupe

28. Our Lady of Sorrows
29. Our Lady of Lourdes
30. Our Lady of Life
31. The Immaculate Heart 
32. Ave Maria
33. Madonna

34. Theotokos

35. Immaculate Conception

36. Blessed Mother

37. Mother of Mercy 

38. Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

39. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
40. Our Lady of Guadalupe

41. Mother of Perpetual Help

42. Our Lady of Czestochowa, or The Black Madonna

43. Queen of Peace

44. Spotless Dove of Beauty

45. Olive Tree of the Father’s Compassion

So anything with....

  • Our Lady, 

  • Queen of, 

  • Vessel of / Tabernacle of/ Temple of, 

  • Virgin of, 

  • Mother of , 

  • Mother Most ....etc....

    So how many Titles does she have?
    That could be an endless miracles happen everyday!
    I hope she can be a comforting spiritual companion for you in your
    time of need; just ask and she will be there.

6 Ways to Understand the Variety of Marian Titles and Feasts

  1. Event. 
    It means what took place in Christian history, narrated in Sacred Scripture, i.e., the feast day of the Annunciation, which celebrates the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary.

  2. Dogma. 
    The beliefs that we have learned through Church doctrine, such as the feast day of the Solemnity of the Assumption, where Mary goes to heaven in body and soul.

  3. Geographic. 
    A title received commemorating Mary’s apparitions in certain places, i.e., the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette.Panoramic of Pilgrimage in Lourdes, France, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette.

  4. Mary’s Life. 
    This is related to her live experiences as the mother of Jesus, i.e., the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, which focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord.

  5. Symbolism. 
    This indicates some of Mary’s powerful roles as an intercessor, and the way she guides us towards Christ, i.e., Our Lady Star of the Sea feast day. Under this title, the Virgin Mary intercedes as a guide and protector of those who travel or work at sea.

  6. Virtue. 
    The titles that were given to the Virgin Mary in honor of her multiples merits, i.e., the Immaculate Heart of Mary, where Catholics have recourse to her inspired by in her love and perfect purity.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Mary. This one hangs in my house.




Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace”. 


New Year’s Day is also designated as the “World Day of Peace”, further acknowledging the role of Mary in our hearts and in our world.


We celebrated the liturgical feast  as a celebration of the maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the Octave of Christmas. 


Only at Christmas and Easter that we enjoy the privilege of an octave, which is an eight day extension of the feast.

What to Eat on New Year's Day

According to popular folklore, if these foods are eaten on New Year's Day, they guarantee good luck throughout the year.


Peas or beans symbolize coins or wealth. Choose traditional black-eyed peas, lentils or beans to make a dish seasoned with pork, ham or sausage.

Greens resemble money, specifically folding money. Make dishes using boiled cabbage or sauerkraut, collard greens, kale, chard, mustard greens, turnip greens or other green, leafy vegetables to ensure good fortune for the coming year.

Pork is considered a sign of prosperity in some cultures because pigs root forward. This is probably the reason many Southern New Year's Day dishes contain pork or ham.

Cornbread might symbolize gold, and besides, it is essential with black-eyed peas and greens.

In other cultures, fish, grapes, and ring-shaped cakes or doughnuts or cakes with special treats inside symbolize luck.




Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas


  • 12 – 16 ounces smoked sausage

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

  • 4 whole cloves garlic

  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped Italian parsley

  • 8 cups chicken stock

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • Minced green onions, to garnish (optional)


  1. Slice the sausage and cook it in a large pot over medium heat to render some of the fat. (Mine didn’t yield much.)

  2. Add the onions, salt, cayenne, whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.

  3. Add the chicken stock, black-eyed peas, and minced garlic.

  4. Bring to a boil, and simmer, covered for about 1 ½ hours, until the peas are tender. Serve garnished with green onions, if desired.



Broccoli Cornbread Mini Muffins 


  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen, chopped broccoli

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted

  • 1 medium yellow onion , peeled and chopped

  • 3 large eggs , lightly beaten

  • 1 cup small-curd cottage cheese

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 (8.5-oz.) package corn muffin mix (Jiffy)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray an mini muffin pan.

  2. Prepare the broccoli according to the manufacturer's directions. (I use the microwavable steaming packages.) Drain and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese and salt until well blended. Stir in the muffin mix, onions and broccoli. Mix until just combined.

  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm.


Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread


  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1½ cups yellow cornmeal

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon sunflower seed oil

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • Shortening or spray to prepare pan


  1. Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease an 8-inch square metal baking pan with shortening. Line pan with baking parchment so there is an overhang. Do this by measuring parchment about 3½ inches in length additionally at each side of pan. This will allow 1¾ inches of coverage on each end once folded and tucked in. Lightly grease parchment paper. This will create “handles” which will help removing cake from pan and to transfer to cutting board to cut into even squares after cooling.

  2. In a large bowl, mix all Ingredients.

  3. Scrape bottom and sides of of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary to ensure mixture is well combined and only a few lumps remain. Allow batter to stand for a full 3 minutes. This will allow the flours to absorb the liquids for a moist and tender crumb as well as provide a good rise. With a rubber spatula, carefully scrape and pour the lightly bubbled batter into prepared pan. Smooth top evenly with rubber spatula.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Do not over-bake or cornbread will be dry. Cool cornbread in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Transfer the cornbread to wire rack. Turn right side up onto wire racks (using an additional rack to flip); cool. Cut into 9 large squares for serving.


German New Years Cake


Base Dough

  • 400 g flour

  • 200 g butter

  • 100 g powdered sugar

  • 2 egg yolk

  • 2 tbsp sour cream


Filling Poppy

  • 200 g poppy seeds, ground

  • 50 g butter

  • 50 g sugar

  • 50 g raisins

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp rum

  • 1 package vanilla sugar

  • peel of 1 lemon, organic

Filling Nuts

  • 150 g hazelnuts or almonds, or mix half almonds and hazelnuts, ground

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • some cinnamon and cloves, ground

Filling Apple

  • ½ kg apples

  • 30 g butter

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 1 egg and some butter

 Baking Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients for the base into a bowl and knead until you get a smooth dough. Wrap it in foil and keep it cool for at least 1 hour or over night.

  2. Mix poppy with all other ingredients in a pot and let it soak for 1-2 minutes on low heat, then let it cool off.

  3. Mix nuts with sugar and milk, spice with cinnamon and cloves.

  4. Peel apples and cut in small pieces; saute them on low heat with butter and sugar without adding any water. They need to be semi soft, not mushy.

  5. Take the base dough and cut it in 4 parts; roll each part on a baking board that is sprinkled with flour, dough should  be thin not thick.

  6. Place 1 dough on the bottom of a spring form and add the poppy filling.

  7. Cover with the second dough and add the nut filling.

  8. Cover with third dough and add apple filling; cover with the last dough.

  9. Beat 1 egg and spread it over the last cover by using a baking brush; with a fork poke the dough several times.

  10. Bake the cake in pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes on 360 F.

  11. Place the cake 1-2 days in a cool place before you serve it.

  12. Dust it with a layer of powdered sugar before you serve it.


Queen of Peace


Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”, the Solemnity of Mary honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace” fitting because New Year’s Day is also designated as the “World Day of Peace”! We celebrated this feast as a celebration of the maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the Octave of Christmas. Only at Christmas and Easter we enjoy the privilege of an octave, which is an eight-day extension of the feast.

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