Honoring the Birth of Mary

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine, 1871

Why does the Church celebrate this festival?

Maria Bambina

Because the day of the blessed Virgin’s birth, which was so holy and immaculate, is one of universal joy to the whole world.

Why then does Mary’s birth cause such great joy?

To this the Church answers beautifully with the Antiphon of the Magnificat, which says: “O Virgin, Mother of God, Thy birth has announced joy to the whole world, for from Thee, has proceeded the Sun of justice, Christ our Lord, who, by taking away the curse, has shed benediction and, who by confounding death, has given us everlasting life.” This curse, caused by our first parents’ sin in paradise, burdened the whole earth and especially mankind, for “sin, having come into the world by one man, it passed upon all, since all have sinned in this one.”

It was in consequence to original sin, that mankind was covered with such a darkness, that led men to ignore their Creator, whilst they on the other hand prostrated themselves to creatures and adored idols of their own construction.

Don Silvestro de’Gherarducci, Birth of the Virgin
Italian, c.1375

Finally the hour of redemption had come. The infant was born, who was predestined by God to become the mother of the promised Savior, and who was consequently to crush the head of the serpent. How then ought this festival to spread joy through the world, since after such ardent desires salvation is at last about to appear! For Jesus, the Savior, our Lord and God, the Light of the world, the Sun of Justice, is to come forth from Mary; that darkness, which had overshadowed all nations is about to disappear, the knowledge of God shall abound, the bonds of sin, in which mankind lay fettered, shall be loosed, the curse so long resting upon creation shall be taken away,–in a word, the fulness of benediction shall reign upon earth. To-day even death is put to shame, for she is born, from whom shall come forth the Conqueror of death, who, depriving death of its sting, shall guide us unto perpetual life. Such are the glorious hopes, that Mary’s birth awakes in us, promising at the same time the speedy fulfillment of them.

Mary’s Birth and Presentation in the Temple
From a Historien Bibel
German (Swabia), c. 1375-1400

Then, as St. Peter Damian says, let us rejoice in Mary, the most blessed Mother of God, for she bears a new message unto the world, being the beginning of man’s salvation; let us rejoice in the day, on which was born the Queen of the World, the Gate of Heaven, the Portal of Paradise, the Tent of God, the Star of the Sea and the Ladder of Heaven, upon which the Supreme King in infinite humility deigned to descend to us, and upon which we may rise from our dust to heaven. Today the most glorious Virgin is born, from whom shall proceed, as a bridegroom from his chamber, the most beautiful of the sons of man; to-day she leaves her mother’s womb, who deserves to be the temple of God.

Albrecht Altdorfer, Birth of Virgin
German, 1520-1525

All images depicting the birth of Mary were found on this post at the Ad Imaginem Dei blog.

Just a Glimpse of St. Laurence’s Sweetness and Charity

Sept. 5. ST. LAURENCE JUSTINIAN, from Character Calendar by Sr. Mary Fidelis and Sr. Mary Charitas

Statue of St. Laurence Justinian, Milan Cathedral

Refusing the offer of a brilliant marriage, he fled secretly from his home at Venice and entered a religious Order. He induced a friend, who had come to persuade him to return home, to remain and enter the monastery.

Behold a great priest who in his days pleased God. There was not found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. — Gradual: Ecclesiasticus 44.

The greatest saints shunned the company of men when they could, and chose rather to live unto God in secret. — Imitation: Book I.

Ideal: A rich nobleman, St. Laurence was wise enough to recognize the greater riches of God’s love. He put by his paltry chests of gold and silver to plunge into the very treasure house of wealth by becoming a religious and making all the glory of heaven more surely his.

Today: For five consecutive minutes sometime today, think this over: Nothing goes with me to the Judgment Seat of God, to insure heaven, but a good life.

Slogan: What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his soul?

The Loving Audacity that Delights the Heart of Jesus

The Penitent Magdalene Comforted by Angels, 1679, Oil on copper, 34 x 42 cm. Private collection

Above all I follow Magdalen, for the amazing, rather I should say, the loving audacity, that delights the Heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine. It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I lift up my heart to God in trust and love. I feel that even had I on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Saviour. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace. ~ St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul