MEDITATION FOR THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF THE B.V.M. (SEPTEMBER 8, 2010)

Mary

by P.J. Kerbard

Three birthdays are celebrated in the liturgical calendar of the Church, the one we are most familiar with is that of Jesus on December 25th. Yet, the birthday which made this one possible is often passed by without much awareness or reference. This is the birth of Mary, daughter of Joachim and Anna who became the mother of Jesus, Son of the Living God, the promised Messiah in the line of David. September 8th is her special day as the 24th of June is the special day of the precursor of the Lord, St. John the Baptist.

David was chosen from the sons of Jesse whose father was Jacob - know as Israel - who was born of Isaac the son of Abraham. This act of God was the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, God's special possession. The lineage of Mary can be traced back to the very promise made to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. After Adam accused Eve of making him eat the fruit, Eve accused the serpent, God then says - I will put enmity between you and the women, between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel. (Gn 3:15)

This promise of the one who would subdue the evil one is the promise of the Messiah, the long awaited, who would make all things right with the Living God. The women, Mary, whose offspring, Jesus, would be the one who strikes at the head of evil as Savor - the evil one would harass the Savor by snipping at His heel. Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother by His gracious gift from the cross, is most worthy of being remembered on her birthday - it is right and just that honor be given for her Fiat to Gabriel's announcement that she should bear the Promised One of the Most High.

A birthday celebration is a cause for joy, thus our own minds and hearts need be directed to preparing for the occasion by thought, word and deed. The thoughts of this moment see the gift of Mary's womanhood as the tender and compassionate vessel of a new and abundant life. Every women has the potential to be a mother, a source of new life as a pro-creator and in this vocation hand on tenderness and mercy. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the prime example of motherhood by her ten evangelical virtues of purity, prudence, humility faithfulness, devotion, obedience, poverty, patience, mercy and sorrow. The early Christians certainly looked at Mary as their foremost model of love and service which is well recorded in the Gospel accounts of Jesus. Mary is known as the first to believe the word of God spoken through Archangel Gabriel and so the first to be redeemed by the foreseen passion and death of the Savor. The word each of us speaks should be in praise of God's unlimited love and mercy for us all. God gave the fullness of grace to Mary and He desires to pour out grace upon all who, like Mary remain open and expectant of all God wills and desires for each person's redemption.

As we think of Mary we are inspired by the reality of her total union with God, her virtues bespeak the power of God flowing through her. Would that we all would open ourselves to all that God desires to give and so too become real channels of the powers the world so needs. May the birthday of Mary always lead us to have Mary Immaculate point us to Jesus as the Way, Truth and Life. This focus on Mary in the gift of God's Power will also be a strong connection to Mary as the Seat of Wisdom which she became as the mother of the Incarnate Word and through whom we receive the grace of Mercy by the action of the Holy Spirit - so we celebrate Mary's birth as we also listen to the voice of John the Baptist proclaiming to make straight the way of the Lord.