The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin.
Let us rejoice, let us exultantly salute Mary’s birth, the birth of our Queen, which filled heaven with joy, earth with hope, and hell with terror. Behold, at last, the "strong woman," the predestined Mother of the Messiah.
We shall speak neither of the place nor of the circumstances of her birth; but it may be supposed that, like her Divine Son, she was born in poverty. St. Joachim and St. Anne were poor and, belonging to the Levitical family, they lived on the tithes of the Temple. But, notwithstanding this, Mary was born amid grandeurs that far surpassed all the riches of the daughters of this world.
Mary possessed human greatness. She was born the daughter, the sister, the heiress of Juda’s kings. The Word willed to be born of a royal mother. He willed to be, according to the flesh, the brother of kings, in order to show clearly that it is from Him that all royalty flows, and that kings should come to adore Him as their Master and Sovereign Ruler. His Mother was, therefore, a queen. True, as her Son was a King without an earthly kingdom, without riches, without armies, so she was poor and unknown. Earthly grandeur does not constitute royalty; it is only its appendage. Even when royalty is despised, its rights still exist. And, moreover, the day was to come on which Mary s royalty, like that of her Son, was to be proclaimed and honored. The Church was to salute her as Queen, Queen of heaven and earth: "Salve, Regina!" The angel had announced it. "Dabit illi sedem David patris ejus." "The Lord, Mary, will give to thy Son the throne of David, His father." But before that day He had to regain it by the combat of humility, poverty, and suffering.
Mary possessed all supernatural greatness. Supernatural greatness is nothing else than the reflection of God upon a creature whom He associates to His power and glory. Now, what did God do for Mary? He associated her to His great Mystery. The Father calls her His daughter, the Son loves her as His Mother, the Holy Ghost guards her as His spouse. She was called to share in the great works of divine power, she is associated to the empire of God Himself. Contemplate her thus on the beautiful day of her birth. With St. John, behold her clothed with the sun, amicta sole, coming from God and resplendent with His divine light. She is, as it were, penetrated with the rays of the Divinity, like to a most pure crystal which the sunbeam enters at every point. The moon is under her feet, typifying her unshakable power which defies inconstancy, for she vanquished once and forever the infernal dragon. Her brow is encircled with a diadem of twelve stars, typical of the graces and virtues of all the elect, for Mary is the center of creation. Jesus has entrusted to her hands all the means of Redemption, and she is crowned by all the saints, who are the work of her love and her protection.
Mary was born with all personal greatness. She was enriched with God’s gifts. But that is little, for on the day of her birth she was already rich with her own merits. She had already acquired treasures of merits during the nine months of silent and uninterrupted adoration passed in the bosom of her mother. She was, even before her birth, penetrated with the divine light, and she had given herself entirely to God, whom she loved with a love of which we can form no just idea. She was born with the treasures that she had won, with the riches that she had acquired. if in spirit we could have seen Mary’s birth, could have contemplated that sun rising out of the ocean of God s love! In her mind, was the purest light; in her heart, the most ardent love; in her will, the most absolute devotedness. Never was there a creature with such a birth!
Even in her cradle, Mary was the delight of the Holy Trinity, the admiration of the angels. "Who is this privileged creature," they ask, "who, at the first dawn of life, is so rich in virtue and adorned with such glory? Quae est ista?"
And the demons trembled. They beheld her advancing against them strong as an army in battle array. They felt the humiliation of their chief’s defeat, and they already foresaw the terrible war that this child of a day would wage against them: Sicut acies ordinata.
But the world rejoices, for we behold the advent of our liberatrix. Her birth heralds that of Our Savior. O yes! Let us rejoice: Nativitas tua gandium annuntiavit universo mundo.
As for ourselves especially, we ought to rejoice that Mary brings to us the Bread of Life. From the day of her birth, we salute her as the aurora of the Eucharist, for we know that the Lord will take from her the substance of the Body and the Blood that He will give us in the adorable Sacrament of His love.
Practice: Offer to God by the hands of Mary the fruits of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Aspiration: Hail, Mary, who brought us from afar our Bread of Life, the Divine Victim.