In this lesson we study the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the customs associated with this feastday
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INTROIT Hail, holy Mother, who brought froth the king who rules heaven and earth forever and ever. Ps. 44:2. My heart overflows with good tidings, I sing my song to the king. V. Glory be . . .
Nine months ago, Mary was immaculately conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, by her father St. Joachim. The Feast of that Immaculate Conception, 8 December, is a much greater Feast than today's (it's a Holy Day of Obligation, in fact); but we recall Mary's birthday, too -- the birth of the woman destined by God from the beginning of time to be born of the House of David and the Tribe of Judah, the women whose enmity toward Satan was spoken of as far back as Genesis, the woman whom St. John saw crowned with stars and with the moon at her feet, the woman whom God chose to bear His Son and bring life to the world. With today's Feast, the line between the Old and New Testaments has been crossed; the New Covenant is imminent!
This feast, like that of the Assumption of Mary, originated in Jerusalem. It began in the fifth century as the feast of the Basilica Sanctae Mariae ubi nata est, now called the Basilica of Saint Anne. In the seventh century, the feast was celebrated by the Byzantines and at Rome as the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is also celebrated by Syrian Christians on 8 September 8th and by Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on May 9th.
We begin with the words of St. Augustine:
The hoped-for day of the blessed and venerable Mary ever a Virgin has now come; therefore let our earth rejoice with great gladness, illuminated by the birth of so great a Virgin. For she is the flower of the field from which came forth the priceless lily of the valley; by her child-bearing the nature inherited from our first parents is changed, their fault wiped out. In her that sentence passed on Eve was remitted which said, "In sorrow shall you bring forth children," for Mary brought forth the Lord in joy.
Eve sorrowed, but Mary exulted; Eve carried weeping in her womb, but Mary carried joy, for Eve brought forth a sinner, but Mary innocence itself. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the source of sin, Mary the source of merit. Eve by killing was a hindrance, Mary by giving life was a help. Eve wounded, Mary healed. Obedience takes the place of disobedience, faith makes up for faithlessness.
Mary may now play on her instruments, the Mother strike the cymbals with swift fingers. The joyful choruses ...
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Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is part of the following course(s):