September 8th marks the celebration of the Birth of Our Lady. Just as we celebrate the births of our loved ones, we should celebrate the birthday of Mary, the Mother of God, who was such an integral part of salvation history. She humbly and willingly took up a mantle that would subject her to a life of holiness, but also immense suffering and pain.
Saints Joachim and Anne were believed to be infertile. They were getting on in years and had been unable to conceive a child up to that point. So, they did what anybody should do when difficulty arises. They prayed. And they received the promise that they would bear a child, and that child would advance God’s plan for the redemption and salvation of mankind. She was so vital to this plan that God granted her the blessing of being conceived without the mark of Original Sin. This is known as the Immaculate Conception, and it is celebrated on December 8th, exactly nine months before the celebration of Mary’s birthday.
When a person is born, they have potential – potential to bring goodness, potential to live virtuously, potential to bring others to Christ, and potential to make it to heaven. However, because of original sin, we also have the potential and tendency to act contrary to God’s will and commit sin. Mary’s birth was special because it was the embodiment of all that is good about bringing new life into the world, but it lacked any tendency for sin, personal or original.
Next to the Incarnation, the birth of Our Lady marks the greatest hope of attaining holiness on earth. She is an irreplicable but shining example of purity, humility, courage, and piety. She was so dedicated to the will of Our Lord that when the angel Gabriel found her to announce her role as mother, she was praying in solitude. And instead of refusing her personal task to carry out what the Lord asked, she bravely responded, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Mary’s birth marks the beginning of something pure, holy, and clean in the eyes of God. Let us be inspired to imitate her by remaining in the state of grace. Let us be open to God’s will just as Joachim, Anne, and Mary were. And let us bring joy to the world.
“By your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, you bring joy to the whole world; of you was born the Sun of Justice, Christ, our God.”
Cause of our joy, pray for us.