Celebrating the Birth of Mary - Catholic Action For Faith and Family

Celebrating the Birth of Mary

Feast Days in the Catholic Church are most often celebrated on the death day of the saints. This is the day that marks their share in the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. From this day the offering of their life is complete, and the soul is directed to heaven. This is the day that they first might be regarded as “saints.”

There are only three feast days in the Church associated with a birth: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ; June 24 commemorates the birth of St John the Baptist, and September 8 is the occasion for the Church to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These three persons had an extraordinary holiness from the moment of their birth.

In the case of Jesus Christ we can clearly understand that, because He is True God, He comes among us perfect and holy in the mystery of His Incarnation.

The Fathers of the Church said of John the Baptist: that he was made holy in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, at the moment of the Visitation. Luke records the words of Elizabeth to Mary, “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy.”  (Luke 1:44) This was the moment of John’s sanctification, and therefore he was “holy” when he was born.

So also in regard to the Ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the Savior. In the mystery of her Immaculate Conception (celebrated on December 8), she was – by a singular grace and privilege, and by virtue of the merits of Christ’s saving death and resurrection, (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 491) – conceived in the womb of her mother, St Anne, without any stain of Original Sin. In Mary’s birth (celebrated 9 months later, on September 8) she was already – according to St Alphonsus Ligouri, - a “saint.” She is “full of grace.” (Luke 1:28)

We would be remiss to forget the birthday of our earthly mother. It is fitting that we take the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Mary, our Heavenly Mother. The Second Vatican Council called her the Mother of the Church, and she is also called the “New Eve, mother of the living,” (CCC., no 511); spiritual Mother of all the faithful. Mary never seeks to gather honor to herself but always to guide us to her Son, Jesus Christ.

As Jesus was dying, Mary and “the beloved disciple,” stood at the foot of the Cross. Jesus entrusted Mary to the disciple – who represents us all – telling him, “There is your Mother.” (Jn 19: 26-27)

St Louis De Montfort says that, just as Almighty God used Mary to bring the Redeemer to the world, so also God has chosen to use the Blessed Virgin Mary to bring the world to Jesus Christ. She does so most clearly by her example. In accepting the message of the angel, and responding, “Let it be done to me,” (Lk 1:38), she is the model of obedience to God’s plan. In the Magnificat canticle, proclaimed at the Visitation (1: 46ff), she is the humble maiden who directs all glory to God. (vv. 48,49)

At Cana of Galilee she acts as the powerful intercessor for a newly married couple, asking our Lord to assist them when they have run out of wine, (Jn 2: 3ff). Frequently we ask her to “pray for us, sinners: now, and at the hour of our death.”

Even into the modern era, Mary’s work seems to continue in the numerous Marian apparitions and messages. In each and every one of these approved by the Church, she imparts a sign and/or words of teaching or encouragement; calling all of us, her children, to prayer, sacrifice, and repentance. Authentic Marian apparitions are fully consistent with Christ’s Gospel message. Through these extraordinary encounters, Mary helps the Church in a particular time and place, to be renewed and rededicated to the work and teaching of her Son.

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On This day, O Beautiful Mother

On this day, O beautiful Mother,
On this day we give thee our love.
Near thee, Madonna, fondly we hover,
Trusting thy gentle care to prove.

On this day we ask to share,
Dearest Mother, thy sweet care;
Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.

On this day, O beautiful Mother,
On this day we give thee our love.
Near thee, Madonna, fondly we hover,
Trusting thy gentle care to prove.

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