Tag Archives: Nativity of Mary

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.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Let us meditate on the most honorable birth of the glorious Virgin Mary, who has attained the dignity of motherhood without losing the purity of maidenhood.

(Magnificat antiphon)

 


Birth of the Virgin.jpg
Our Lady’s Nativitye

Joye in the risinge of our orient starr,
That shall bringe forth the Sunne that lent her light;
Joy in the peace that shall conclude our warr,
And soone rebate the edge of Satan’s spight;
Load-starr of all engolfd in worldly waves,
The card and compasse that from shipwracke saves.

The patriark and prophettes were the floures
Which Tyme by course of ages did distill,
And culld into this little cloude the shoures
Whose gracious droppes the world with joy shall fill;
Whose moysture suppleth every soule with grace,
And bringeth life to Adam’s dyinge race.

For God, on Earth, she is the royall throne,
The chosen cloth to make His mortall weede;
The quarry to cutt out our Corner-stone,
Soyle full of fruite, yet free from mortall seede;
For heavenly floure she is the Jesse rodd
The childe of man, the parent of God.

 

Robert Southwell (1560-1595)
Jennings, Elizabeth, ed. In Praise of Our Lady. Great Britain: Pitman Press, 1982.

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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