Today we celebrate the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s birth – a true gift to the whole world
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8, 2021): MI 5:1-4; PS 13:6; MT 1:1-16,18-23
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In the Byzantine liturgy, there is a lovely reference to Mary’s birth: “Today God welcomes on earth the holy throne which He had prepared for Himself...”
While there is no mention in the Bible of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it has been honored in the Church for about fifteen hundred years. By tradition her parents are called Joachim and Anne. They are thought to have been childless until they prayed, beseeching God for the blessing of a baby. They could not have known that their daughter was not only a blessing to them but to all humanity. Nor could St. Anne have understood that, in readiness for her role as Mother of God, her infant daughter was without the stain of sin from the very moment of her conception. In the Byzantine liturgy, there is a lovely reference to Mary’s birth: “Today God welcomes on earth the holy throne which He had prepared for Himself. He who established the heavens in wisdom has fashioned a living heaven.”
Mary’s parents raised her to be a devout daughter of Almighty God, observing the Jewish laws and customs just as they and their neighbors in Nazareth did. Yet her own Son would be born according to Old Testament prophecy in another little town. “The Lord says: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah…from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel…when she who is to give birth has borne.… In the majestic name of the Lord, His God;… His greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; He shall be peace” (Micah 5:1, 2-4). The infant Mary grew to be a holy and humble young virgin who would give birth to the Messiah of her people, the Savior of the world – and the King of the Universe. The early life of the mother of Jesus, entrusted to her parents, enabled her to do and be all God asked of her. She trusted Him in all things, hoped in His mercy to her and His people, and loved Him with her whole body and soul. We do not know if Saints Joachim and Anne ever saw their grandson, but they surely prepared their lovely daughter to be His holy loving Mother.