September 7, 2016

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 8th, the Church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nine months after celebrating her Immaculate Conception. The feast of the nativity of Mary originated in 6th century Syria or Palestine. The French church contends that it was Saint Maurilius of Angers, whose evangelization helped Christianize Gaul, who established the feast in 430. It is from the later that the date of September 8th was formalized. Since the 7th century, the feast has been observed in both the Latin and Orthodox Churches.

While the circumstances of our Lady's infancy and early life are not found in Scripture, other accounts describing her birth are cited by Christian writers from the first centuries of Christendom. These non-biblical sources convey the Church’s traditional beliefs about Mary’s nativity and formative years. For instance, we know that from the very beginning, the blessed Virgin was acknowledged to be preserved from any stain of sin and that Saints Joachim and Anne were given the responsibility and privilege of parenting the future Mother of God’s Incarnate Son.

The "Protoevangelium of James", form the early 2nd century, describes Mary's father Joachim as a well-off and devout member of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Joachim and his wife Anne were deeply saddened by their childlessness. Recalling Abraham and Sarah’s baroness and how God answered Abraham’s plea, they devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. Initially, Joachim and Anne believed their inability to conceive signified God's displeasure with them. Then, an angel appeared to Anne, telling her that all generations would honor their future child: "The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world." According to the Protoevangelium of James, after Mary's birth, Anne "made a sanctuary" in the infant girl's room, allowing "nothing common or unclean" inside of it on account of the child’s sanctity.

When Mary was one-year-old, her father prepared an immense feast, inviting the priests, the scribes, the elders, and all the people of Israel. Joachim brought Mary to the priests who blessed her, saying: "O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations." He also presented her to the chief priests, and they blessed her, saying: "O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be forever."

The Protoevangelium goes on to describe how Mary's parents, together with the temple priests, decided that she would be offered to God as a consecrated Virgin and enter a chaste marriage with the carpenter Joseph. Saint Augustine describes the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an event of cosmic 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." The Doctor of Grace states that "through her birth, the nature inherited from our first parents is changed."

On the nativity of Mary, the Church solemnly recalls the first manifestation of redemption with the appearance of the Savior's mother. A sermon by Saint Sophronius, a 7th century bishop, observes that through Mary the Father's blessing has shone forth on mankind: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. What joy could surpass this, O Virgin Mother? What grace can excel that which God has granted to you alone? What could be imagined more dazzling or more delightful? Before the miracle we witness in you, all else pales; all else is inferior when compared with the grace you have been given. All else, even what is most desirable, must take second place and enjoy a lesser importance." Indeed, Mary is the "New Eve" foretold in Genesis, whose seed (Christ) will crush the serpent's head. Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation.


Unknown said...


Oh Thou,
most beautiful a woman
most tender of all mothers
most brilliant STAR of DAVID
Masterpiece of God's creation
to the Holy Trinity
most precious Pearl
towards your Son the Golden Bridge
Golden Gate
to the Holy City
thru which our Savior
came and comes
Most sacred Vessel
containing the most Holy
My soul,
is drowning
in the beauty of your eyes
in the sweetness of your smile
in the burning oven of your heart
in the greatness of your littleness
in the eloquence of your silence
in the mystery of your simplicity
Oh Thou,
safest of my earthly havens
dearest hiding-place of mine
truly my refuge
my sweetest, sweetest mother
keep me with your Son Divine
save me from the worldly evils
strengthen my so fragile faith
cover me
with your motherly mantle
Oh Mary, you most gentle
Your child I am FOREVER !!!

Rita Biesemans
August 10 1999 Feast of Saint Lawrence

Kristopher Osirarrumm said...