Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Nine months ago the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary; today we celebrate her birth. We know nothing from Scripture about her birth; only sacred tradition, which brings to us the apocryphal document called the Protoevangelium of James, tells us the story of Joachim and Anne, an older, barren couple, and how God grants them the child they so longed for. St. Anne, having been ridiculed out of the Temple, laments her barrenness as she looks upon a bird’s nest. She says, “Alas! To what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of heaven, because even the fowls of heaven are productive before you, O Lord…I am not like this earth, because even the earth brings forth its fruits in season, and blesses You, O Lord.”
Then an angel comes, assuring her that God has heard her prayer and that she will come to bear a child. St. Anne promises to dedicate whatever child she has to the Lord, and in nine months brings forth Mary, saying, “My soul has been magnified this day.”
What was God’s gift to this poor couple was, truly, a gift to the whole world. Where would we be without Mary? For without her, we would not have her Son, and without Him we would, truly, have nothing. Today let us reflect upon the gift of Our Lady: her birth foreshadowed the birth of the One who delivered her at her first moment, that being delivered of her at His own birth, He might deliver us all.
Holy Mary, born this day: pray for us.