THE BIRTH OF MARY
"Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed and pre'
pared for her role as Mother of God, who is the universal
King of the ages. .. Therefore let all creation sing and dance
and unite to make worthy contribution to the celebration
of this day ... Today this created world is raised to the
dignity of a holy place for him who made all things. The
creature is newly prepared to be a divine dwelling place for
the Creator." (from a discourse by St. Andrew of Crete).
The liturgy for this feast day is filled with rich praise and
thanksgiving to God for the gift of Mary. "When the most holy
Virgin was born, the whole world was made radiant." (2nd
Antiphon at Morning Prayer). "Your birth, 0 Virgin Mother of
God, proclaims joy to the whole world ... " (Antiphon at the
Benedictus). "Today we celebrate the birth of the blessed Virgin
Mary, whose splendid life has illumined the Church."
(Antiphon, midmorning, Daytime Prayer).
In the same midmoming hour we read:
"Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as
the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe, inspiring as
bannered troops?" (Song of Songs, 6: 10).
The II Vatican Council places in perspective all of our honor
to Mary. In the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy we find:
"Holy Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of
God, with a special love. She is inseparably linked with her
Son's saving work. In her the Church admires and exalts
the most excellent fruit of redemption, and joyfully con'
templates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself
desires and hopes wholly to be." (Sacrosanctum Concilium,
A short, beautiful reflection on the birth of Mary was written
by Eilis Ni Thearnaigh:
"Mary is intimately associated with the great feasts of the
Annunciation and Christmas when we celebrate the com'
ing into our world of God's own Son. T oday's feast, how,
ever, celebrates Mary's own coming into the world and the
Church is especially joyfullt is the kind of joy all of us feel
when looking at the miracle that each new human life is.
This life that is the cause of our joy is altogether special-
in its holiness and human perfection and also in its great
potential Seeing this baby girl and knowing God's choice
of her, our joy has a quality of anticipation. We look
forward to the day when the baby becomes a young woman
who is asked to be the mother of the Savior, Theotokos. So,
though it might not at first seem so, this feast is not simply
a glorification of Mary herself, but is closely connected with
the mystery of our redemption." (Scripture in Church, Vol
18, n. 67 (1987) p.324).
One final prayer: "The birth of the Virgin Mary's Son, was the
dawn of our salvation. May this celebration of her birthday bring
us closer to lasting peace." (Opening Prayer).