December 31st last year
Let us ask the Lord of life to soothe with his grace the sufferings caused by evil, and to continue to fortify our earthy existence by giving us the Bread and Wine of salvation to sustain us on our way towards the Heavenly Homeland.
While we take our leave of the year that is drawing to a close and set out for the new one, the liturgy of this First Vespers ushers us into the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Theotokos. Eight days after the birth of Jesus, we will be celebrating the one whom God chose in advance to be the Mother of the Saviour “when the fullness of time had come” (Gal 4: 4).
The mother is the one who gives life but also who helps and teaches how to live. Mary is a Mother, the Mother of Jesus, to whom she gave her blood and her body. And it is she who presents to us the eternal Word of the Father, who came to dwell among us. Let us ask Mary to intercede for us.
May her motherly protection accompany us today and for ever, so that Christ will one day welcome us into his glory, into the assembly of the Saints: Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Pope Benedict XVI
December 31, 2005
Homily, Te Deum and First Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God