Thursday, September 07, 2017

Nativity of Mary

St. Anne with the Child Mary

The Catholic Church celebrates Mary's birthday on September 8th. This is of great significance, not only as a devotional celebration of the birth of our Mother in heaven, but a significant event in the life of the Church. Mary's birth is the beginning of the redemptive work of God since from her was born Jesus, our Redeemer. The whole Church rejoices as we thank God for having sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to deliver those who are subjected to the Law, as St. Paul exclaims in his letter to the Galatians. It is fitting that we celebrate because through this humble woman, conceived without sin because she was to become the Mother of God, you and I were redeemed. It was because God prepared her from the beginning of time to be the Ark of the Covenant, that our redemption was wrought.

The events of Mary's nativity are wrapped in silence. We do not know anything about it because Scriptures do not mention it. What we have about this event comes from the apocryphal Gospel of St. James, a protoevangelium at the end of the second century. We have learned from this apocryphal narrative that St. Anne and St. Joachim conceived the child Mary in their old age. That she was presented in the temple when she was a young girl and lived in the temple area with the Templar virgins. The book by the Venerable Anne Emmerich also mentions this time in our Lady's life.

I think that the very lack of information about our Lady's birth speaks volumes. Everything about Mary is wrapped in silence. We wish there was more written about her in Scriptures so we can take them piece by piece and meditate on them. But this in itself should be enough for us. Mary's life is a hidden life and a humble life.  Hers was a life of silent joys and sorrows, silent adoration and sacrifices. The Holy Rosary is the compendium of the Gospel.  By meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary we meditate on the life of Mary as well since the life of Mary is so intricately linked to the mystery of her Son Jesus.  This feast we celebrate on September 8th is an invitation to live a hidden life, a life known to God alone. Our stations in life vary, our responsibilities take us to different directions and demand of us different courses of actions. But aside from living busy lives," we must also develop an interior and hidden life open to God alone. There, we enter from time to time to be one with the God who dwells within.

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