Tag Archives: Nativity of Mary

Nativity of the Mother of God

 

 

“The day of the Nativity of the Mother of God is a day of universal joy, because through the Mother of God, the entire human race was renewed, and the sorrow of the first mother, Eve, was transformed into joy.”

Saint John Damascene, Father and Doctor of the Church

Nativity of Mary, the Mother of God

This is the highest, all-embracing benefit
that Christ has bestowed upon us.
This is the revelation of the mystery,
this is the emptying-out of the divine nature,
the union of God and man,
and the deification of the manhood that was assumed.
This radiant and manifest coming of God to men
most certainly needed a joyful prelude
to introduce the great gift of salvation to us.
The present festival —the nativity of the Theotokos—
is that prelude,
while the final act is the foreordained union
of the Word with flesh.
Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed,
and prepared for her role as Mother of God,
that God who is the universal King of all the ages!

from a discourse of St. Andrew of Crete
from today’s Office of Readings for 8 September

Nativity of Mary

nativity-of-mary“By Your Nativity, O Most Pure Virgin, / Joachim and Anna are freed from the reproach/disgrace of barrenness; / Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death. / And we, your people, freed from subjection to sin, celebrate and sing to you: / The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life!”

(Byzantine Kontakion-hymn of the Nativity of the Theotokos)

The Liturgy for the great feast of the Nativity of Mary is full of theology that we can not walk away from, even if they are difficult theological concepts, like “corruption of death” and “subjection to (liabilty for) sin,” referring to our human state before Christ. The beauty of the poetry here to convey what we believe is stunning: the mention of Jesus Christ annulling our “curse” in another well-known hymn, the Troparion of the feast: “By annulling the curse He bestowed a blessing, by destroying death, He gave us eternal life.” What does it mean for us today?

A key to unlock the importance of this feast is understanding the generation before Mary: Saints Joachim and Anna. These two experienced in their life, in their experience, what the Kontakion above speaks of “disgrace of barrenness” or “chidlessness.” Consider what it means for a woman to experience the inability to conceive, or to experience the death of her infant child. What God did was to free Anna from the paralyzing “barrenness” of her body and give her an incomparable blessing –the gift of Life. With Joachim and Anna, God intervened in human history making it possible for them to “live” to their full potential by giving birth to Mary. Life makes all the difference.

The feast is, as St. Andrew of Crete describes it, “the beginning of feasts. It represents the first of the feasts against the Law and the shadows, yet also the entrance of those that lead to grace and truth.”

The Source of Life in His creative energies allows humans to be truly productive and truly human when it was impossible. So today we honor Mary, but we also honor her parents, Joachim and Anna, “the barren woman gives birth.” THE Good News here is that God the Father bestows the same blessing on the Church. As one theologian said, He continues to bless “an ever God-Bearing Church.”

Nativity of Mary

Nativity of Mary printExercising a motherly care for us her poor children in all things and through all things, the Virgin Mother calms our trembling fear, enlivens our faith, supports our hope, drives away our distrust, strengthens our timidity.

Surely you are not afraid to approach Jesus? He is your Brother and your flesh, tempted in all things as you are, yet without sin, so that he might have compassion. And this Brother has been given to us by Mary.

And so whatsoever you have a mind to offer to the Lord, be sure to entrust it to Mary, so that your gift shall return to the Giver of all grace through the same channel by which you obtained it.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaulx, Sermon 7 for the Nativity of Our Lady

Nativity of Mary, the Mother of God

Nat of BVMPrayer in honor of Our Lady’s Nativity by Saint Anselm

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope and solace of its life.

When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light.

Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Ghost, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin.

Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Juda, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin.

Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins.

O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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