Jan 1, 2024

Posted by in Articles & Essays, CHRISTmas, The 12 Days of Christmas | 0 Comments

Eight Maids a-Milking


Merry 8th Day of Christmas – Mon. Jan. 1, 2024 

Today the Solemnity of Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God is observed in the Catholic Church. This particular feast day is one which I always attended Mass with my mother. It was kind of our thing! 

 The Entrance hymn was Hail Mary, Gentle Woman. This was a personal favorite of my mother’s. We sang it together often through the years. I sang it to her in the days before she died. She requested it be played at her Memorial Mass. Singing it in Mass today made me feel close to her. The refrain is beautiful: 

Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love. 

 The First Reading at Mass, from Numbers 6:22-27, is one of my favorites – and my mom loved it, too. Patsy liked to have this read and had several decorative items in her house with various versions of these verses on them.  

 The LORD said to Moses:  
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:  
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:  
The LORD bless you and keep you!  
The LORD let his face shine upon      
you, and be gracious to you!  
The LORD look upon you kindly and      
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,  
and I will bless them.” 

 The hymn, Hail Mary, Gentle Woman, along with the verses from the Book of Numbers fit nicely with the Beatitudes, which also call to mind my mother and father. 

 Why maids a-milking on the Eighth Day of Christmas? 

 This is to recall the eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) 

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. 
  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 
  • Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God. 
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

 The Hymn, Blessing and the Beatitudes: They go together 

 I think the hymn, first reading from today and the meaning of the Eighth Day of Christmas go together. They are sort of like a trio of partners. If we follow the quiet light and wisdom of the Blessed Mother as well as bless, through prayer and action, those who are in need of our prayers and assistance, as suggested in the Beatitudes, then we help fulfill the blessing the Lord gives us from today’s first reading.  

Take a moment to go back and read the verses from Numbers. Read the lyrics to the hymn below. Dedicate them to those you love.  

Merry Christmas,

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman
Written by Carey Landry

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of death.

Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.

You were chosen by the Father;
you were chosen for the Son.
You were chosen from all women
and for woman, shining one.

Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.

Blessed are you among women,
blest in turn all women, too.
Blessed they with peaceful spirits.
Blessed they with gentle hearts.

There are several beautiful versions of the hymn linked on this website if you would like to listen to the song: https://catholichymn.blogspot.com/2016/08/Hail-Mary-Gentle-Woman.html



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