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The Feast of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Cheryl Mascarenhas Mar 18, 2020
Call her Virgin, call her Mother, call her Blessed. She is the Theotokos and it is her birthday we celebrate with great reverence.
"My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed..."
- 'The Magnificat' Luke 1:46-48
Mary is said to be the one who takes the prayers of her faithful to her son Jesus. Where would we be without Mary and her 'Yes'? Probably still steeped in Sin like our ancestors, Adam and Eve.
Although mostly ignored, the role of Mary cannot be dismissed when you talk of Christianity. Mary, in every sense, is the actual first and true Christian, the Christ Bearer and thus, the Virgin Blessed.
We know very little of this wonderful woman who, Jesus gave to the world as our very own Mother. On her birthday, let's get to know our Heavenly Mother and present her the best gift we could possibly give - the Gift of Faith in Her Blessed Son.
Considering her role as the Mother of Christ, Mary's birth is celebrated as an important feast in the church. The Feast of the Nativity of Mary falls on September 8, which is exactly nine months after the Immaculate Conception celebrated on December 8.
The tradition of celebrating the birth of Mary has been in place since the sixth century and it found widespread importance by the thirteenth century. Though there is no reference to the birth of Mary in the Bible, the story comes forth from the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal gospel written around 150 A.D.

The Story of the Immaculate Birth...

Mary's birth is nothing short of a miracle in itself. She was born to Joachim and Anna who were supposedly childless till their old age. It was only after an angel appeared to the aged couple that Mary was conceived. It is said that the angels in heaven rejoiced at the birth of Mary as she was redeemed from her sins (original sin) when she was born.
She thus became the Immaculate Child who would in future become the Immaculate Virgin Mother. Mary is known to change or reverse the role of Eve who was laden in sin.
We come to know of Mary in the words of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who says, Eve was a thorn, wounding, bringing death to all; in Mary we see a rose, soothing everybody's hurts, giving the destiny of salvation back to all.
The Protoevangelium of James, known as the Infancy Gospel states that Joachim was a rich and pious man. He offered his gifts two-fold, one as an offering for all people and the other a sin offering as a sign of atonement. The day of the Lord grew near, and Reuben, the High Priest, rejected his offering on the basis that he had not yet endured an offspring.
Taking this to heart, Joachim ventured into the desert where he vowed to fast for 40 days and nights offering this as an act of penance to the Lord. His wife, Anna too was deeply grieved and sore as she was reproached by the tribes of Israel.
Then when the day of the Lord approached, she did away with her clothes of mourning and adorned her head and put on her bridal garments. In the garden at about the ninth hour, she cried out to the Lord asking him to hear her prayers and bless her womb.
It was then that the Angel of the Lord appeared before her and blessed her womb saying, 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.

The Promise Made and Fulfilled

Having blessed Anna, the angel appeared before Joachim and proclaimed the good news following which Joachim rushed back to be by Anna. In thanksgiving, Joachim promised to make an offering of 10 spotless she-lambs, along with 12 calves for the priests and elders, and 100 goats for the people.
Next day when he came home, Joachim went to fulfill his promise. Anna, vowed to keep her child sacred and present it to the Lord in reply to the favor he had granted to her saying, As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life.
When Mary was born, Anna thanked the Lord and vowed to present the young child in the presence of the Lord when she reaches the age of three. When Mary began to take her very first steps at six months, Anna lifted her to the heavens and exclaimed that she would not walk on the earth till she was brought to the Temple of the Lord.
Anna kept Mary away from all the impurities of the world, she prepared a sanctuary for little Mary and personally kept everything common and unclean from reaching her child. So when Mary turned three, Joachim and Anna bade the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews to bear a torch and lead Mary to the Temple of the Lord.
Mary was welcomed by the priest who blessed her saying, The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel.

Mary's Birth: The Heart of Salvation

Mary, who was entrusted to the care of the priests, lived in the Temple like a dove. She was nurtured from the hands of an angel, her parents returned home giving praise to God. Mary had found a favor with the Lord in her infancy and here it is that she lived her life dedicated to the Lord.
Mary's birth is the start of a new covenant with God, it is a link between the events and the people mentioned in the Old testament and those that were to come in the new. Mary's birth was the helm of expectations and promises, and it remains so till today.
For Christians, her birth is the bridge that fulfills the promise of salvation and grace. Pure as she was, Mary had earned herself a unique blessing early in her life and it is in her Purity that she fulfills this blessing. Mary's birth is the beacon of light that prepares the way for the birth of Christ.
It was to this pure virgin that the Angel Gabriel said, Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women. - Luke 1:28

How to Celebrate the Feast

Birthdays call for a grand celebration, and so it is for a Christian, a reason to gather in the Temple of God. Mother Mary's birthday is a day of joy and hope, and it goes without saying that the celebration that follows is a grand affair. The best way to celebrate her birth is...
... Get the Family Together
... Light Candles at The Altar
... Place a Garland at Her Feet
... Say a Family Rosary

... Attend a liturgical service
... Say the Angelus or other Prayers dedicated to Her

... Visit the Less Fortunate
The gift of prayer is the only gift that pleases our Mother and it is the sole reason they say,
To Jesus, Through Mary. Celebrations across the world include following the Novena in preparation for the feast. On the final day, a procession is carried out with the statue of Our Lady.
The peaceful procession is generally accompanied with the faithful saying a rosary with lighted candles. Chants of 'Ave Maria' and 'Hail Full of Grace' fill the night air as the procession departs from the church. Finally, do not forget to say Hail Mary three times in honor of our Mother's birthday, they say that she answers every prayer.
To our Lady on the way, "Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus." which means, Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you amongst women and Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. May Our Lady be with you, forever protecting you under her mantle blue.