Thursday, September 07, 2006

Feast of the Birth of Mary

Tomorrow, September 8, we celebrate the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the calendar of the Universal Church we celebrate only three births: that of the Lord Jesus himself; of Saint John, Precursor of the Lord; and of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Among these three, the Birth of Mary was the last to be observed throughout Christendom, beginning only around the 8th century.

Yet the Birth of Mary is nevertheless of profound importance in the history of our salvation in Christ her Son. Like the dawn that hails the rising of the Sun, Mary's birth signals the fulfillment of the promises made by God to his people Israel. Immaculately conceived, Mary is the first and most perfect fruit of the redemption. In her, we see our own rebirth in Christ as the new creation of which she is the Mother, the new and sinless Eve. It is from her spotless body that we receive Jesus, the new Adam who undoes the sin of the first Adam and redeems us on the tree of the Cross by his obedience.

And so we rejoice and praise God for the gift of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our sister and our mother. We praise Christ her Son for the beauty of his redemption. And we honor the Holy Spirit for bringing her forth as the sign of our new life in Jesus.

Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to all the world.
For from thou hast risen the Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

Destroying the curse, He gave blessing;
and damning death, He bestowed on uslife everlasting.

Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen
the Sun of justice, Christ our God.
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