“Mondays with Mary” – The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Even though yesterday was the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, September 8th is also the day we celebrate the Feast of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s exactly nine months after we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the day we celebrate the birth of the Mother of God, who in time would carry in her womb for nine months – Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. The Blessed Mother has a special place in Salvation History for she is the Theotokos – The God-Bearer, which was declared dogmatic at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.

As the great Mother of God, Mary was given the highest mission that any human creature would receive by the Lord himself. On this great day, we commemorate the Blessed Mother’s birth to her parents, Saints Joachim and Anne.

For today’s feast day, we turn our direction to one of the great Saints and Doctors of the Catholic Church, Saint Francis de Sales, who gives us a fantastic homily on this important feast in the Church. The italicized excerpts below are from his homily on September 10, 1620.

Saint Francis de Sales enlightens us to the obedience of Mary as a young child and into her marriage with Saint Joseph.  Please share this excerpt with a young Catholic woman you know today.

“In the beginning of her life she was subject to her mother. She remained with her family to show girls and children the honor and subjection they owe their parents and in what spirit they should live in their own homes. She was presented in the Temple in her youth, when only three years old, to teach fathers and mothers the care they should take in rearing their children and with what affection they ought to instruct them in the fear of God and lead them to His service. In this she was also an example for young girls who consecrate themselves to the Divine Majesty. Then she was married, to be a mirror for the married, and finally a widow. Thus Divine Providence let her pass through all the states of life in order that all creatures might find in her, as in a sea of grace, what they need in order to form and adapt themselves to their state in life.”

Nativity of BVM P Cavallini

Here Saint Francis explains how Mary is an example of religious life. With the release of the film, Light of LoveI would encourage you to share this with someone who is discerning religious life or an active member of a religious order.

“…It is true nevertheless, as I have said, that she was the mirror of the religious life particularly; for from her birth she practiced most excellently that perfect renunciation of the world, the flesh and herself, in which Christian perfection consists. As to the world, at her birth the sacred Virgin made the most perfect and entire renunciation that could be made…”

Here Saint Francis gives us a beautiful understanding of Mary as a young child in her crib. The Blessed Mother is even considered greater than the angels as a child. She would become the Queen of Angels.

“…O God, it is admirable how absolutely and perfectly the sacred Virgin, Our Lady and Mistress, made his renunciation at her nativity! Come close to her cradle, think of the virtues of this holy infant and you will find that she practiced them all to an eminent degree. Question the angels, the cherubim and seraphim, ask them if they are equal in perfection to this little girl, and they will tell you that she infinitely surpasses them…”

St. Francis de Sales explains to us that even in her infancy, Mary begins to the practice the cardinal virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, and Justice and the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Although she had a full understanding of her reason, she chose with her freedom to be a just an infant.

“There she was, that sacred and blessed Virgin, practicing all the virtues, but in an admirable manner that of renunciation of the world. For amid these practices and this exaltation she how she abases herself, not wishing to appear other than as a simple and ordinary infant, even though she had the use of reason from the very moment of her Conception…”

“…The most holy Virgin made this last renunciation in her nativity in such a way that she never used her liberty. Consider well the whole course of her life and you will see nothing but continual subjection.”

When I read these words from St. Francis de Sales, I come to love the Blessed Virgin Mary more and more each day. Recollecting on my own sins, which she never had to do, helps me try to renounce the temptations of my passions and desires. When faced with such great sin, we must remember to go to Our Lady and ask her to intercede for us, so that we will overcome all that is placed before us in our fallen human condition.

I pray that we all can look towards Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother in times of sin. They will never turn away from us.  Mary is our Queen Mother, who always seeks to bring us closer Jesus. Mary is never about herself. She always points us to our Lord and her Son, Jesus Christ.

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