Happy Birthday, Blessed Virgin Mary!

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Dom Prosper Gueranger’The Liturgical Year, Dom Gueranger treats of the Nativity of Mary in the following (excerpt):

“Let us celebrate the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. Let us adore her Son, Christ our Lord.” Such is the invitation addressed to us today by the Church. Let us hearken to her call. Let us enter into her overflowing joy. The Bridegroom is at hand, for His throne is now set up on Earth. Yet a little while, and He will appear in the diadem of our human nature with which His Mother is to crown Him on the day of the joy of His heart, and of ours. Today, as on the glorious Assumption, the sacred Canticle is heard, but this time it belongs more to Earth than to Heaven.

Truly a better paradise than the first is given us at this hour. Eden, fear no more that man will endeavour to enter you: your Cherubim may leave the gates and return to Heaven. What are your beautiful fruits to us since we cannot touch them without dying? Death is now for those who will not eat of the fruit so soon to appear amid the flowers of the virgin earth to which our God has led us. Hail, new world, far surpassing in magnificence the first creation! Hail blessed haven where we find a calm after so many storms! Aurora dawns. The rainbow glitters in the heavens. The dove comes forth. The ark rests upon the Earth, offering new destinies to the world. The haven, the aurora, the rainbow, the dove, the ark of salvation, the paradise of the heavenly Adam, the creation of which the former was but a shadow: all this are you, sweet infant, in whom already dwell all grace, all truth, all life.

You are the little cloud which the father of prophets in the suppliant anguish of his soul awaited, and you bring refreshment to the parched earth. Under the weakness of your fragile form appears the Mother of fair love and of holy hope. You are that other light cloud of exquisite fragrance, which our desert sends up to Heaven. In the incomparable humility of your soul, which knows not itself, the angels, standing like armed warriors around your cradle, recognise their Queen. O Tower of the true David, citadel withstanding the first shock of Satan’s attack and breaking all his power! True Sion founded on the holy mountains, the highest summits of virtue. Temple and palace feebly foreshadowed by those of Solomon. House built by eternal Wisdom for herself: the faultless lines of your fair architecture were planned from all eternity. Together with Emmanuel who predestined you for His home of delights, you are yourself, O blessed child, the crowning point of creation, the divine ideal fully realised on Earth!

Let us, then, understand the Church when, even on this day, she proclaims your divine maternity and unites in her chants of praise the birth of Emmanuel and your own. He who, being Son of God by essence, willed to be also Son of man, had, before all other designs, decreed that He would have a Mother. Such, consequently, was the primordial, absolute character of that title of mother that, in the eternal decree, it was one with the very being of the chosen creature, the motive and cause of her existence, as well as the source of all her perfections natural and supernatural. We too, then, must recognise you as Mother, even from your very cradle, and must celebrate your birthday by adoring your Son our Lord. Inasmuch as it embraces all the brethren of the Man-God, your blessed maternity sheds its rays upon all time, both before and after this happy day. “God is our king before ages: He has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth” (Psalm lxxiii. 12). “The midst of the earth,” says the Abbot of Clairvaux, “admirably represents Mary. Mary is the centre of the universe, the ark of God, the cause of creation, the business of ages. Towards her turn the inhabitants of Heaven and the dwellers in the place of expiation, the men that have gone before us, and we that are now living, those who are to follow us, our children’s children and their descendants. Those in Heaven look to her to have their ranks filled up. Those in Purgatory look for their deliverance. The men of the first ages, that they may be found faithful prophets. Those who come after, that they may obtain eternal happiness. Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Sovereign of the world, all generations will call you blessed, for you have brought forth life and glory for all. In you the angels ever find their joy, the just find grace, sinners pardon. In you, and by you, and from you, the merciful hand of the Almighty has reformed the first creation.”

Andrew of Crete calls this day a solemnity of entrance, a feast of beginning whose end is the union of the Word with our flesh, a virginal feast, full of joy and confidence for all. “All ye nations, come here,” cries Saint John Damascene, “come every race and every tongue, every age and every dignity, let us joyfully celebrate the birthday of the world’s gladness.” “It is the beginning of salvation, the origin of every feast,” says Saint Peter Damian, “for behold! the Mother of the Bridegroom is born. With good reason does the whole world rejoice today, and the Church, beside herself, bids her choirs sing wedding songs.” (end of Gueranger excerpt) (source)

And, so, today, together with the Church, we do say with joyful hearts: Happy birthday, little Mary, Maria Bambina! And, we pray:

Hail, Infant Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou forever, and blessed are thy holy parents Joachim and Anne, of whom thou wast miraculously born. Mother of God, intercede for us.

We fly to thy patronage, holy and amiable Child Mary, despise not our prayers in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, glorious and blessed Virgin.

V. Pray for us, holy Child Mary.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray: O almighty and merciful God, Who through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the Immaculate Infant Mary that she might be the worthy Mother of Thy Son, and didst preserve her from all stain, grant that we who venerate with all our hearts her most holy childhood, may be freed, through her merits and intercession, from all uncleanness of mind and body, and be able to imitate her perfect humility, obedience and charity. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen. (source)

May you have a good day.