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.

Triduum of Our Lady of Good Counsel

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*Triduum, April 23-25, Feast, April 26

 

The devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel originated near Rome, where for centuries an Augustinian church, which contains a miraculous picture of Mary, has been a place of pilgrimage. Your earthly pilgrimage is beset with many dangers. You are in need of advice in the serious problems of life. Remember that Jesus gave you a counselor who will never fail you. Go to your Heavenly Mother with childlike confidence and abandonment. Entrust yourself to her prudent guidance, for she is your Mother of Good Counsel.

I, Wisdom, dwell in counsel and am present in learned thoughts..Counsel is mine, prudence is mine, strength is mine” (Prov. 8, 12. 14).

PRAYER

MAY the kind intercession of Mary, Your glorious and ever Virgin-Mother, be our help, we beg of You, O Lord, that it may make those whom it has blessed with continual favors ever to know what should be done, and then strengthen them to carry it out faithfully. Who live and reign forever. Amen.

     Mary, you are favored more than all other women on earth, for in the presence of our God you have aided us in our weakness. Rule over us, you and your Son, because you have freed us from the hands of our enemies!

Hail Mary…

Mary speaks:

     “He that listens to me shall not be put to shame, and they that work by me shall not sin” (Ecclus. 24, 30).

PRAYER

O GOD, You gave her who bore Your beloved Son, to be our Mother, and glorified her fair image by a wondrous apparition; grant, we beg of You, that by always following her counsels we may be able to live after Your own Heart and arrive happily in our heavenly fatherland. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

*Taken from Mary, My Hope by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D., copyright 1954

O Most Holy Heart of Mary

immaculateheart

Consecration to the Admirable Heart Of Mary
by Saint John Eudes

O most holy Heart of Mary, ever Immaculate, ever Virgin, holiest, purest, noblest, greatest, inexhaustible fountain of goodness, sweetness, mercy and love; model of every virtue, image of the Adorable Heart of Jesus Christ ever burning with the most ardent charity, who lovest God more than all the Seraphim together. Heart of the Mother of the Redeemer, seat of peace, wherein mercy and justice are allied, whence peace between Heaven and earth has begun to be treated, who didst feel our miseries so deeply, who didst suffer so much for our salvation, who still lovest us so ardently and who dost merit by all these rights, the respect, love and confidence of all men: deign to accept my poor
tribute of love.

Prostrate before thee I tender thee the most profound homage of which I am capable; I thank thee for the feelings of love and mercy with which thou an so deeply moved at the sight of our misery; I offer thee my humble thanks for all the gifts I have received from thy goodness, and I unite with all the pure souls who delight in honoring, praising and loving thee. They have learned from the Holy Spirit Who directs them, that it is through thee they most goto Jesus Christ, and offer to this God-Man their need of adoration.

Therefore, O most loving Heart, thou shalt henceforth be the object of my veneration, of my love and most tender devotion; thou shalt be the way whereby I shall go to my Saviour, as it is through thee that His mercy shall come to me; thou shalt be my refuse in every need, my consolation in every affliction; from thee I shall learn the purity, humility, meekness and above all, the love of Jesus; I shall ask for these virtues through thy merits and so shall infallibly obtain them. I presume to offer thee my heart sullied with a thousand sins; all unworthy as it is I trust that thou wilt not despise it. Grant by thy powerful mediation that it may be purified and detached from every creature; penetrate it with sorrow for my sins; fill it with the love of the Divine Heart of Jesus, thy Son, that it may be eternally united with thee in Heaven, there to love God forever. Amen.

An Assumption Prayer by St. Alphonsus

The Assumption
‘Modello’ for the Assumption of Mary by Peter Paul Rubens 1622-25 Oil on panel, 88 x 59 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

O most sweet Lady and our Mother, thou hast already left the earth and reached thy kingdom, where, as Queen, thou art enthroned above all the choirs of angels, as the Church sings: ‘She is exalted above the choirs of angels in the celestial kingdom.’ We well know that we sinners are not worthy to possess thee in this valley of darkness; but we also know that thou, in thy greatness, hast never forgotten us miserable creatures, and that by being exalted to such great glory thou hast never lost compassion for us poor children of Adam; nay, even that it is increased in thee. From the high throne, then, to which thou art exalted, turn, O Mary, thy compassionate eyes upon us, and pity us. Remember, also, that in leaving this world thou didst promise not to forget us. Look at us and succour us. See in the midst of what tempests and dangers we constantly are, and shall be until the end of our lives. By the merits of thy happy death obtain for us holy perseverance in the Divine friendship, that we may finally quit this life in God’s grace; and thus we also shall one day come to kiss thy feet in Paradise, and unite with the blessed spirits in praising thee and singing thy glories as thou deservest. Amen.