Nativity of Mary print.jpgLet us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. (antiphon)

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.

Several things to pray for today,

  • the Most Rev. Edoardo Aldo Cerrrato, CO, on the day of his episcopal ordination in Rome;
  • the Cistercian Order;
  • those who professed vows today;
  • the Benedictines of Saint Mary’s Monastery (Petersham, MA);
  • Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, Cap, on the first anniversary of being the archbishop of Philadelphia;
  • Michael Maggiore who is healing.

Keeping in mind what Saint Thomas of Villanova reflected upon for today’s feast,

“What joy, what happiness there is in heaven! The shoot for the root of Jesse, sown so long ago in the patriarchs, has today sprung up and began  to grow, and will bear a Flower which is destined to heal the world; a Flower whose scent revives the dead, whose taste heals the sick, whose beauty delights the angels; a Flower both white and red, which the angels long to see.”

Father Francis Weiser, S.J., in his The Holyday Book writes about today’s feast thus:

On Our Lady’s birthday the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Saviour’s mother, Mary.

The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too.

Let us often call upon the Blessed Virgin as “Cause of our joy,” one of the most beautiful titles in her litany.

Since September 8 marks the end of summer and beginning of fall, this day has many thanksgiving celebrations and customs attached to it. In the Old Roman Ritual there is a blessing of the summer harvest and fall planting seeds for this day.

The winegrowers in France called this feast “Our Lady of the Grape Harvest”. The best grapes are brought to the local church to be blessed and then some bunches are attached to hands of the statue of Mary. A festive meal which includes the new grapes is part of this day.

In the Alps section of Austria this day is “Drive-Down Day” during which the cattle and sheep are led from their summer pastures in the slopes and brought to their winter quarters in the valleys.

This was usually a large caravan, with all the finery, decorations, and festivity. In some parts of Austria, milk from this day and all the leftover food are given to the poor in honor of Our Lady’s Nativity.

The 2010 post which includes a portion of a homily Saint Andrew of Crete is here.