“She (Mary) was born into this world without original sin*, because she is the Immaculate Conception.” Fr. Bonaventure McGuire, homily on the Nativity of Mary, link (below)
Tomorrow is the celebration of the Nativity of Mary. It is a happy day in the Roman Catholic Church. If we tried to imagine a creature given to us as the Mother of Our Savior, I do not expect that we could have imagined one as good and kind, sweet and loving, perfect in every manner, as the Most Holy Mother, Mary, the Immaculate Conception, our Mother and Queen. On her birthday, we particularly remember Mary in her babyhood.
Mary has been known traditionally in her babyhood under the title of Maria Bambina. In February of this year, I did a post on Our Lady under this title, here.
Catholics have had a great love for Our Lady in her babyhood for centuries. Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (b. 1908- d. 1995, information) wrote on the birth of Our Lady:
“At the time of her birth, the world was laid groveling in the most radical Paganism. Vices prevailed, idolatry dominated everything, abomination had penetrated the Jewish religion itself, which was a presage of the Catholic Religion. The victory of evil and the Devil seemed almost complete. But at a certain moment God in His mercy decreed that Our Lady should be born. This was the equivalent of the beginning of the destruction of the reign of the Devil.
Our Lady was so important that her birthday marks a new era in the Old Covenant. The History of the Old Covenant was a long wait for the coming of the Messiah. After the original sin of our first parents, mankind had to wait 3,000 years, perhaps more, for the Messiah. But at a certain blessed moment, Divine Providence decreed that a woman should be born who would deserve the coming of the Messiah. Her nativity represents the entrance into the world of the perfect creature who found grace before God and had merit sufficient to end that extensive wait.
All the prayers, sufferings, and faithfulness of the just men living and dead reached their apex with her arrival. There had been Patriarchs, Prophets, just men among the Chosen People and certainly some just men among the Gentiles who had prayed, suffered, and waited; none of this was sufficient to attract the coming of the Redemption. But when God so willed it, He made the perfect creature be born to be the Mother of the Savior. Therefore, the entrance of this exquisite creature into the world marks the presage of the Redemption. The relationship between God and man began to change, and the gates of Heaven that had been tightly locked were semi-opened, permitting the light and breeze of hope to pass through.
Her birth represents the entrance into the world of a new grace, a new blessing, a new presence that was an incomparable presage of the presence, blessing and grace that would come with the Savior.
For all these reasons the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady should be most dear to us. It is the event that announces the fall of Paganism.”
And, so, tomorrow, together with the Church, we do say with joyful hearts: Happy birthday, little Mary, Maria Bambina!
•Ten minute homily by Fr. Bonaventure McGuire on the Nativity of Mary, September 8, 2011: link
*Baltimore Catechism on what is “original sin”–link
•Image: The Birth of the Virgin by Giotto di Bondone (d. 1337), source