The birth of Mary cannot be separated from the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Contemplation of one leads to contemplation of the other. The Immaculate Conception recognises that as part of God’s plan to save Mankind and restore to us the possibility of eternal life, Mary was chosen to be the mother of His Son. Thus, the Word could be made flesh, live amongst us, teach us and make the supreme sacrifice in order that our relationship with God be restored. Mary was therefore immaculate (free from Original Sin) from the moment of her conception within the womb of her mother, Anne. This week September 8th. marks the feast day of Mary’s birth, the next stage of God’s plan.
The feast of Mary’s birth dates back to the spirituality of the second century and its zeal to fill-in narratives where the gospels were silent. Veneration of Mary had its beginnings at this time. The apocryphal writing, Protoevangelium of James, tried to address the question of Mary’s origins. From this we received the names of her parents (Anne and Joachim) and the story of her young life. This feast not only celebrates the birth of Mary, it also celebrates the spirit of the early Christians in their quest to honour the Mother of Our Lord.
Mary was full of grace from her conception. We thank God for her birth and for her parents who raised her to know and love God. We particularly praise her obedience to God in agreeing to bear His Son in spite of possible dangers to her life and the certainty of difficulties and sorrows. But it did not end there. Whilst being a good mother, from the moment of His conception in her womb, she was also the first and closest of Jesus’ disciples.
In celebrating Mary’s Birthday this year, perhaps we can ask her to help us become closer disciples of her dear Son?