Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

'The Birth of the Virgin', fresco by Juan de Borgoña, Cathedral of Toledo, c. 1495

Let us celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary; let us worship her Son, Christ the Lord.

Each Year, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on September 8. Usually the church celebrates the feast day of a saint on the date of their death, which is actually the day remembered as their birth into everlasting life. Mary, however, was conceived without sin as a special grace because God had selected her to become the Mother of His Son. Her birth is a cause for great joy as it is considered the "dawn of our salvation" (Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus,1972.)

Saint Augustine described the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an event of cosmic and historic significance, and an appropriate prelude to the birth of Jesus Christ. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley,” he said.

Although there is no reference to Mary's birth in the Sacred Scriptures, the names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, appear in the Protoevangelium of James (5:2), which is an apocryphal writing from the late 2nd century. According to this account, Joachim and Anna were also beyond the years of child-bearing, but prayed and fasted that God would grant their desire for a child.

The primary focus of this feast day is that the world had been enslaved in the darkness of sin and with the arrival of Mary begins a glimmer of light. Living in our current culture of death, we rejoice in Mother Mary who shows us the way to the culture of life by drawing us closer to the Heart of her Son. As St. Louis de Montfort says, "She is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say "Mary" she says "God". There is a bond of love between Mary and God like no other.

As the Mother of God, Mary is radiantly beautifully. She is totally pure, modest, chaste, humble, obedient. Her soul is immaculate -- free from the stain of original sin. Mary is often referred to as the "New Eve." Through her fiat -- her obedience to the will of God -- she opened the doors of redemption and salvation to all her children which had been closed by Eve in her disobedience to the will of God. Because of God's eternal design, she became a necessary element for our redemption from the bondage of sin. As St. Jerome wrote: "Death through Eve, life through Mary." And, in the words of St. Louis de Montfort, "Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance."

Today, let us celebrate with joyful hearts the miraculous birth of God's Mother and our Mother.

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