Nine months have passed since Dec. 8, when we celebrated the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (immaculate: free of the “macula”/stain of original sin). And so on Sept. 8 we celebrate the feast of her nativity or birth. (This year, since Sept. 8 falls on a Sunday, the Sunday takes precedence in our liturgical calendar.)
The Church in both east and west has celebrated this feast since the 6th and 7th centuries. We celebrate only three births liturgically: the births of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist both point toward the pivotal birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, the birth of the Virgin Mary can be seen as a link between the Old and New Covenants: for she, the “Daughter of Zion,” is the personal culmination of the faith and holiness of the People of Israel; while at the same time her birth was the “daybreak of salvation” heralding the coming of the “sun of justice,” her Son, our Lord Jesus.
What can we do to celebrate her birthday?
- Make a birthday cake for her (perhaps with white frosting with blue touches)—which helps children of all ages to know her personal importance in their lives.
- Decorate a statue or image of her with flowers.
- Sing a favorite Marian hymn or song for her.
- Pray the Rosary, the Angelus, the Litany of Loreto, or other Marian prayers.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Happy birthday to you.
(By Father Dan Gallaugher)