Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine, 1871
Why does the Church celebrate this festival?
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.
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.
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.
All images depicting the birth of Mary were found on this post at the Ad Imaginem Dei blog.