Monday, September 8, 2014

A House for God is Born

Sing Happy Birthday to the Blessed Mother of God. Today the Church celebrates with great joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In today's Office of Readings Saint Andrew of Crete writes: "A Virgin is now born . . . and is made ready to be Mother of God, the King of all forever." He continues with these thoughts: "Justifiably, then, is the mystery of this day to be celebrated, since a double gain will be ours if we do so: we shall be led towards the truth, and we shall be led away from a life of slavery to the letter of the law. 

Mary is the daughter of the proud parents Joachim and Anne. She was conceived without the stain of original sin, built by God Himself to be His house, the Gate through which God would enter the world.  

Saint Theodore the Studite, a late eighth century - early ninth century Byzantine monk/abbot, said in his homily for the Nativity of Our Lady: "What wonder! In His immense love for mankind, God was not ashamed to take His handmaid as Mother. Unprecedented condescension of the Lord! In His infinite goodness, He did not hesitate to become a Child of her that He had modeled. Of her the prophet Zechariah says: ‘Rejoice, rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, behold, I come to dwell among you’ (Zechariah 2:14). But I feel blessed Joel was proclaiming more or less the same thing: ‘Do not worry, O land, but rejoice and be glad, because great things the Lord has made’ (Joel 2:21). Mary is the land on which the One Who founded the earth from the beginning is molded in the flesh, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Mary is the land that, without being planted, has opened up the fruit that gives everyone Food. Hail the Lord's place, a land that God has touched with His steps. Hail, God's house, the home that shines with divine splendor." 

As we try to overcome the onslaught of daily life and look for heavenly aid, Pope Paul VI reminds us in his Apostolic Exhortation titled, Marialis Cultus, that "Mary is the Virgin in prayer." Her prayer, the Magnificat, which she offered during her visit to Elizabeth, is prayed everyday in the Church's Evening Prayer or Vespers. Of this prayer, Pope Paul VI calls it "Mary's prayer par excellence, the song of the messianic times in which there mingles the joy of the ancient and the new Israel. As Saint Irenaeus seems to suggest, it is in Mary's canticle that there was heard once more the rejoicing of Abraham who foresaw the Messiah and there rang out in prophetic anticipation the voice of the Church: In her exultation Mary prophetically declared in the name of the Church: "My soul proclaims the glory of the Lord." And in fact Mary's hymn has spread far and wide and has become the prayer of the whole Church in all ages."

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother!