18 December 2008

Our Lady of Expectation

“O God who wished that your Word would take the flesh from the womb of the Virgin as announced by the Angel and whom we confess to be the true Mother of God, may we be helped by her intercession.”

Today, in many parts of the world (but sadly not in America), it is the feast of Our Lady of Expectation. One week before Christ-Mass we celebrate the Holy Virgin "great with child".

The feast is kept alive in many countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland as well as in a few religious orders. In older editions of missals, this feast is still listed as a votive Mass. There are special prayers and novenas to “Our Lady of Expectation” available for women who cannot conceive or bear a child.

The origin of this feast goes back to the bishops of the 10th Council of Toledo, in 656. They felt that the joy of the Annunciation was overshadowed by the somber character of Lent, so they moved the feast to the week before Nativity. Later, they re-joined the rest of the Church in celebrating the Annunciation on March 25th. But they kept this day as a way to celebrate the Virgin with child .

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