“Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her.” –St. Gabriel Possenti
On September 8, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – our Blessed Mother’s birthday. The Church has celebrated her nativity since at least the sixth century. We don’t really know the exact date of Mary’s birth, but the month of September was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The eighth of September was chosen, which then determined the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception (when Mary was conceived in St. Anne’s womb), on December 8.
Why celebrate Mary’s birthday? There are many good reasons, but here are what I consider the “top three” reasons.
- It is proper to celebrate the birthdays of notable people – presidents, celebrities, dignitaries, or the pope, for example. It also is proper to celebrate the birthdays of family members, friends, and colleagues.
- Celebrating the birthdays of others reminds us of their importance in our lives, and in the lives of the members of nations, countries, or the Church.
- Mary is truly our Mother; she became so at the moment of the Annunciation. When she said “yes” to Gabriel’s request to become the Mother of God, she said “yes” to becoming our mother, too. We are joined to Christ, part of his Mystical Body. That makes Christ’s Mother our Mother.
Mary is unlike any other mother. Her qualities excel beyond those of even the best mother imaginable. She loves us more than any human mother ever could, remains beside us constantly, consoles us in our trials, and is vigilant to our every need. There is nothing she would not do for us, save for the violation of God’s will. That, too, makes her an excellent mother since violating God’s will brings only misery and hardship. Her love has no bounds and never ceases even when we fail to return her love. Mary wants and does the best for us always.
I would say that all of the above makes Mary a notable person in our lives, wouldn’t you? Perhaps, then, it is proper that we celebrate her birthday with love and honor by showing our gratitude and appreciation for her. Could we say an extra rosary? Pray the Litany of Loreto? Visit a Marian shrine or our parish church? We also could celebrate with a special meal and perhaps – yes – birthday cake!
It’s Mary’s birthday! Let’s celebrate!
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Image: Immaculate Conception, Wikimedia Commons, CC