Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday,
Mother Mary

Today we celebrate the feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother Mary. Perhaps you are asking yourself how we know the exact date of her birth. We don't. The feast was chosen as it is nine months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception. There is no mention of Mary's birth in the Bible. What we know about those early years has been obtained from sources "cited by some of the earliest Christian writers from the first centuries of the Church" (Catholic News Agency, 2012).

According to EWTN, the feast traces back to Palestine and "goes back to the consecration of a church in Jerusalem, which tradition identifies as that of the present basilica of St. Ann." This source also indicates that the feast began to be celebrated in Rome near the end of the 7th Century.

I thought it was interesting the Gospel reading for this feast should be the geneological text from St. Matthew. That is until I heard today's homily from our visiting priest, Fr. John Kochuchira, TOR who is the Vicar General of the Franciscans Third Order Regular. He said that the birth of each child marks the birth of a new mother, for no woman is a mother until she gives birth. We went on to point out the three words/phrases that summarize Catholic teaching about Mary: fiat, magnificat and stabat mater.

Mary's fiat is our example for saying yes to the will of God. Her magnificat exemplifies that our lives, like hers, must be entirely led for the glory and praise of God. Finally in her stabat mater dolorosa we are reminded that following Christ means also joining him at the cross.

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother!