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September 8, 2004 - Feast of the Birth of Mary
EWTN ^ | September 8, 2004 | A. Valentini

Posted on 09/08/2004 9:09:55 AM PDT by NYer

The present Feast forms a link between the New and the Old Testament. It shows that Truth succeeds symbols and figures and that the New Covenant replaces the Old. Hence, all creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day.... This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator" (Saint Andrew of Crete).

"Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Virgin Mary, of whom was born the Sun of Justice.... Her birth constitutes the hope and the light of salvation for the whole world.... Her image is light for the whole Christian people" (From the Liturgy).

As these texts so clearly indicate, an atmosphere of joy and light pervades the Birth of the Virgin Mary.


1. Historical Details about the Feast

The origin of this Feast is sought in Palestine. It goes back to the consecration of a church in Jerusalem, which tradition identifies as that of the present basilica of St. Ann.

At Rome the Feast began to be kept toward the end of the 7th century, brought there by Eastern monks. Gradually and in varied ways it spread to the other parts of the West in the centuries that followed. From the 13th century on, the celebration assumed notable importance, becoming a Solemnity with a major Octave and preceded by a Vigil calling for a fast. The Octave was reduced to a simple one during the reform of St. Pius X and was abolished altogether under the reform of Pius XII in 1955.

The present Calendar characterizes the Birth of Mary as a "Feast," placing it on the same plane as the Visitation.

For some centuries now, the Birth has been assigned to September 8 both in the East and in the West, but in ancient times it was celebrated on different dates from place to place. However, when the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which has a later origin than that of the Birth) was extended to the whole Church, the Birth little by little became assigned everywhere to September 8: nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.


2. At the Heart of Salvation

As we know, the Gospels have not transmitted to us anything about the birth of the Virgin Mary. Their attention is completely centered on the mystery of Christ and His salvific mission.

The birth of Mary is recounted by the Protevangelium of James (5:2), an apocryphal writing from the end of the 2nd century. Subsequent tradition is based on this account.

The description - although in the manner of an apocryphal document - obviously presents an important historical event: the birth of the Mother of the Lord.

But the problem that concerns us here is the significance of this event. In the case of all the Saints, the Church commemorates their birthday on the day of their return to the Lord. However, in the cases of St. John the Baptizer and the Blessed Virgin, it also celebrates the day of their earthly birth. This is a singular fact already emphasized in ancient times, for example, by Paschasius Radbertus (d. about 859).

The reason for this fact is not found primarily in the greatness or the privileges of the persons involved but in the singular mission that was theirs in the History of Salvation. In this light, the birth of the Blessed Virgin is considered to be - like that of John the Baptizer - in direct relationship with the coming of the Savior of the world. Thus, the birth and existence of Marysimilar to and even more than those of the Baptizer - take on a significance that transcends her own person. It is explained solely in the context of the History of Salvation, connected with the People of God of the Old Covenant and the New. Mary's birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments - bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises and inaugurating the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.

Mary, the Daughter of Zion and ideal personification of Israel, is the last and most worthy representative of the People of the Old Covenant but at the same time she is "the hope and the dawn of the whole world." With her, the elevated Daughter of Zion, after a long expectation of the promises, the times are fulfilled and a new economy is established (LG 55).

The birth of Mary is ordained in particular toward her mission as Mother of the Savior. Her existence is indissolubly connected with that of Christ: it partakes of a unique plan of predestination and grace. God's mysterious plan regarding the incarnation of the Word embraces also the Virgin who is His Mother. In this way, the Birth of Mary is inserted at the very heart of the History of Salvation.


3. Christological Orientations

The Biblical readings of the Feast have a clear Christological- salvific orientation that forms the backdrop for contemplating the figure of Mary.

Micah 5:1-4a. The Prophet announces the coming of the Lord of Israel who will come forth from Bethlehem of Judah. The Mother of the Messiah, presented as one about to give birth, will give life to the prince and pastor of the house of David who will bring justice and peace. She will work with the Messiah to bring forth a new people.

Romans 8.28-30. This passage does not speak directly about Mary but about the believer justified by the grace of Christ and gifted with the indwelling of the Spirit. He or she has been chosen and called from all eternity to share Christ's life and glory. This is true in a privileged manner for Mary, Spouse and Temple of the Holy Spirit, Mother of God's Son, and intimately united with Him in a Divine plan of predestination and grace.

Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23. The meaning of this seemingly and genealogy is theologically profound: to place Jesus, the MessiahLord, within the dynastic tree of His people. He is a descendant, and in fact "the descendant," of Abraham (cf. Gal 3:16) and the Patriarchs in accord with the promises, and He is the semi-heir of the Prophets. The ring that united Christ with His people is Mary, Daughter of Zion and Mother of the Lord.

The virginity stressed by the Gospel text is the sign of the Divine origin of the Son and of the absolute newness that now breaks forth in the history of human beings.

The Christological-salvific purpose and tone dominate not only the Bible readings but also the Eucharistic Celebration and the Liturgy of the Hours.

It has been observed that, although the texts of this Feast's celebration are less rich than those of other Marian feasts, they do have one outstanding characteristic: "The number of themes is rather restricted, [but] there are extremely numerous invitations to joy" (J. Pascher).

Indeed, joy pervades the whole of this Feast's liturgy. If many "will rejoice" at the birth of the precursor (cf. Lk 1:14), a much greater joy is stirred up by the birth of the Mother of the Savior. Hence, this is a Feast that serves as a prelude to the "joy to all people" brought about by the Birth of the Son of God at Christmas and expressed by the singing of hymns and carols.

Added to this theme of joy on this Marian Feast is that of light because with Mary's birth the darkness is dispersed and there rises in the world the dawn that announces the Sun of Justice, Christ the Lord.

Taken from:
Dictionary of Mary (NY: Catholic Book, 1985)
Catholic Book Publishing Company
257 W. 17th St.
NY 10011

TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; General Discusssion; History; Ministry/Outreach; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship

1 posted on 09/08/2004 9:09:57 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...

2 posted on 09/08/2004 9:11:01 AM PDT by NYer (When you have done something good, remember the words "without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5).)
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To: NYer

Adding this thread to the links on the Daily Readings page.

3 posted on 09/08/2004 9:17:09 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: sandyeggo; sitetest; Pyro7480
   Why do Maronites honor Mary?
   By Fr. Antonio Elfeghali

 My evangelical friend asked me: “The Holy Scripture does not say we should honor
 Mary. Why do Maronites honor Mary?

 I said: We are called to imitate Jesus for He is the Way, the Truth, and Life.

 We are called to love what Jesus loves and to hate what Jesus hates (sin).

 We are also called to honor whoever he honors. Jesus honored his mother
 otherwise he would have broken the 4th commandment (honor your father
 & mother).

 There are 8 reasons why Maronites we honor Mary:

 1- We honor Mary because Jesus honored her. Jesus said: “For God said, 'Honor
     your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever curses father or mother shall die.'”
   [Mat 15:4] Do you think Jesus broke this commandment?

  2- According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary said: All generations shall call me blessed
     (Luke 1:48). The Maronites are fulfilling this verse by calling Mary Blessed.

  3- Mary is the mother of all the living. Jesus called her “woman” which means
     “the mother of all those who have life in Jesus Christ”, including the Evangelicals.
     Eve was called woman because she was the mother of all the living. Mary,
     the New Eve, became the mother of all those saved by Jesus.

  4- We honor Mary because without her “Yes” we wouldn’t have Jesus, but we
     would have remained in darkness. Thank you Mary.

  5- We honor Mary because she is the mother of the Light, the Way, the Truth,
     the Life.

  6- Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent
     me.”[Mat 10:40] We can apply this verse on Mary saying, "Whoever receives [Mary] receives [Jesus], and whoever
     receives [Jesus] receives the one who sent Him. Whoever receives [Mary] because [she] is [the mother of the King]
     will receive [the mother of the King's] reward, and whoever receives a righteous [woman] because [she] is righteous
     will receive a righteous [woman's] reward.[Mat 10:41]

  7- Jesus said about himself that there is something greater than Solomon here [Mat 12:42] Read how Solomon treated
     his own mother:  “Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to
     meet her
and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king's
, who sat at his right.”[1 Ki 2:19]
     If Solomon, who was an earthly king, treated his mother this way, how would Jesus, the King of kings, have treated
     his own mother Mary who is the mother of the King? And Jesus is greater than Solomon [Mat 12:42].

  8- Mary is the Queen of Heaven:  “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with
     the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” [Rev 12:1]
     (This is Holy Scripture).

  9- Finally, the Maronites experienced Mary’s protection in a special way throughout history. When they were
     isolated in the arid mountains of Lebanon, cut off from the rest of the world, Mary was with them. When they
     were persecuted for the sake of Faith, Hope, and Love, Mary was there to strengthen and console them. When
   they were divided, Mary was there to reunite them. When they were oppressed, Mary was there to ease the pain.
   When the whole world abandoned the Maronites leaving them at the mercy of their enemies, Mary was there,
   under the cross of our people and at the moment of our ancestors’ death.

4 posted on 09/08/2004 9:31:53 AM PDT by NYer (When you have done something good, remember the words "without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5).)
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To: NYer

Went to mass this a.m. with the kids at the Catholic school. In his homily, the priest announced that today was a very important Catholic feast and asked the youngsters if they knew what feast day it was. One (prompted by a teacher, I'll bet) said, "The Nativity of Mary." Oh no, said the priest, it's the Immaculate Conception. He then went on to explain original sin and so on. This was a young priest, ordained only a few months ago.

5 posted on 09/08/2004 9:34:33 AM PDT by madprof98
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To: NYer

Happy birthday, dear Mary! God gave us a precious gift when He gave you to us to be our mother; and to me when He gave you to me to be my mother! May the Holy Trinity always bless you!

6 posted on 09/08/2004 10:12:17 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: NYer
Happy Birthday to our Blessed Mother.
7 posted on 09/08/2004 10:41:56 AM PDT by kassie ("It's the soldier who allows freedom of speech, not the reporter..")
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To: madprof98
This was a young priest, ordained only a few months ago.

Yikes! Already in need of a refresher course.

8 posted on 09/08/2004 11:06:30 AM PDT by NYer (When you have done something good, remember the words "without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5).)
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To: NYer
John Banister Tabb / On the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
9 posted on 09/08/2004 1:10:44 PM PDT by ELCore (Cor ad cor loquitur)
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To: ELCore

Thank you for posting that link! What a wonderful story and such beautiful poems written about our Blessed Mother.

10 posted on 09/08/2004 1:15:26 PM PDT by NYer (When you have done something good, remember the words "without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5).)
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To: madprof98

Did you correct the poorly catechized "priest" after Mass?

11 posted on 09/08/2004 2:01:06 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Did you correct the poorly catechized "priest" after Mass?

In a school full of religion teachers? I don't think so. But I really doubt any of the (lay) teachers offered a word or two on the side either. Here in the archdiocese of Atlanta, we have many vocations and many newly ordained priests. But one of the things that has fostered the growth of our clerical ranks is a reintroduction of the pre-Vatican II clerical culture in the local church. The young priests, even those who fancy themselves down-to-earth, have a Father-Knows-Best outlook, and it would be perilous to call one of them on something as basic as the difference between conception and nativity--at least Mary's conception and nativity.

12 posted on 09/08/2004 4:29:07 PM PDT by madprof98
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To: NYer

I hardly know you, though you are my beacon, my mother who gives me hope and love that earthly mums cannot give. May I walk with you more closely and teach my daughters to do the same.

13 posted on 09/08/2004 10:36:51 PM PDT by practicalmom
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To: NYer

You're welcome. My pleasure.

14 posted on 09/09/2004 7:02:35 AM PDT by ELCore (Cor ad cor loquitur)
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To: NYer

BTTT on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8, 2005!

15 posted on 09/08/2005 9:13:04 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

BTTT on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8, 2006!

16 posted on 09/08/2006 8:26:13 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
Women-Faith and Family

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast Day
September 8th

The Birth of the Virgin Mary - Esteban Murillo (Louvre, Paris)


Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to all the world.
For from thou hast risen the Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

Destroying the curse, He gave blessing;
and damning death, He bestowed on us
life everlasting.

Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen of Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

­ from The Divine Office - Matins (Morning Prayer)

The Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated in the Church at least since the 8th Century. The Church's calendar observes the birthdays of only two saints: Saint John the Baptist (June 24), and Mary, Mother of Jesus.

John the Baptist is considered especially sanctified even before his birth. His birth to Elizabeth and Zachariah is foretold in the first chapter of Luke, and it is also recorded (Lk 1:41) that Elizabeth felt the infant John "leap in her womb" when Mary approached her soon after the Annunciation.

The birth of Mary was also miraculous. She was conceived without sin as a special grace because God had selected her to become the mother of His Son (the feast of her Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8). The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, though generally believed throughout the Church for many centuries, was formally declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

There is nothing contained in Scripture about the birth of Mary or her parentage, though Joseph's lineage is given in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, appear in the apocryphal "Gospel of James", a book dating from the 2nd Century AD, not part of the authentic canon of Scripture. According to this account, Joachim and Anna were also beyond the years of child-bearing, but prayed and fasted that God would grant their desire for a child.

According to one tradition, the house in which Mary was born in Nazareth is the same one in which the Annunciation took place. By another tradition, the Annunciation site is beneath the Crusader church of Saint Anna in Jerusalem, under a 3rd Century oratory known as the "Gate of Mary".

In celebrating the nativity of Mary, Christians anticipate the Incarnation and birth of her Divine Son, and give honor to the mother of Our Lord and Savior.

Family Observance of the Feast of the Birth of Mary

Mary's Birthday Cake
All children love birthday cakes -- so today, let's make a birthday cake for the Blessed Virgin Mary. A white layer cake or angel food cake would be appropriate, with white icing and blue icing for trim (white is a symbol of purity; blue symbolizes fidelity, and is a color especially used for Mary). We suggest letting the children help with the decorations, if possible. If you have a small statue of Mary, it could be placed in the center of the cake, which can be surrounded by 10 candles -- one for each "Hail Mary" prayer in a decade of the Rosary. (If you don't have a little statue, you can write Mary's name on the cake in blue icing.)

At the end of the evening meal, each child could take turns lighting the 10 candles as the whole family prays together a "Hail Mary" for each candle, ending with the Lord's Prayer.

If the children are too young to light candles, mother could light the candles, then the adults could pray one Hail Mary at the end, just before the cake is cut. After eating the birthday cake, the prayer below could be said (this prayer, the concluding prayer from "Matins" of the Divine Office, could also be said with the children at bedtime).

Lord God,
the day of our salvation dawned
when the Blessed Virgin gave birth to your Son.
As we celebrate her nativity
grant us your grace and your peace.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.


The ANGELUS and the LITANY of the Blessed Virgin Mary

If your family doesn't say the Angelus regularly before the evening meal, this would be a good day to introduce it. (Then say it on all Feasts of Mary and every day during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.) Click here to see the Angelus that you may print out for your family.

School-aged children could begin to learn the traditional Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A good time to say the litany together might be after homework is finished in the evening, just before bedtime. A litany is an ancient form of prayer read or chanted by a group, with a leader saying the versicles, and the rest of the group saying the responses.

Birthday Books
This would be a good time to get out the children's "baby books", which usually need updating. Go through the birthday book with your child, and do some reminiscing. Each child could make a drawing of their idea of baby Mary and her family, which could be pasted in their own birthday book as a memento. (Don't forget to have them put their name and age on the pictures!)

Other ideas...
If you have a nice statue of Mary, or a "Mary shrine" in your home, it would be appropriate to decorate it with flowers and candles today, in celebration of Mary's birthday. The family can gather around it during the reciting of the litany or other prayers -- and conclude by singing the lovely hymn, Mary the Dawn. (Click on the title here to see both the words and music to this hymn.)


Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded joy to all the world.



17 posted on 09/08/2007 10:08:03 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
Vultus Christi

Maria Bambina


The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Romans 8:28-30
Psalm 12:5, 6 (R. Is 61:10a)
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

Maria Bambina

Unto us a little girl is born; unto us a daughter is given. “The Holy Spirit will come upon her, and the power of the Most High will overshadow her” (Cf. Lk 1:35). The Word will take flesh in her virginal womb and suckle at her breast. And her name shall be called Full of Grace, Glory of Jerusalem, Joy of Israel, and Mother of God. In Italy she has another name, one that the people love to give her; she is their Maria Bambina, the little Infant Mary.

The Story of an Image

It was in Rome, many years ago, that I encountered the image of Maria Bambina for the first time. I didn’t know quite what to make of it. She looked rather like a doll, all dressed up in lace and satin, resting on her pillow. I knew only that all sorts of people, and especially children, came to pray before her. I saw that that Maria Bambina had stolen their hearts. She attracted the most extraordinary outpouring of tender devotion, and does to this day.

The image of Maria Bambina originated in Milan where the cathedral is dedicated to the Infant Mary. A Poor Clare nun fashioned the image out of wax in 1735. Maria Bambina suffered the vicissitudes of the times under Napoleon. The convent that kept the image was suppressed. Maria Bambina was passed from one “foster home” to another until, in 1885, she found a permanent home in the motherhouse of Milan’s Sisters of Charity. Beginning in 1884 various miracles were attributed to the image of the Infant Mary. She was dressed in new clothes and placed in a new crib in the chapel of the Sisters. Devotion to Maria Bambina spread throughout Italy and then elsewhere in the world.

A Child for Children

The learned and the clever, the theologically sophisticated and those who think that holiness has no need of warmth and no time for tenderness, are baffled by Maria Bambina. But children understand her. Raïssa Maritain understood the Child Mary perfectly; “The Blessed Virgin is the spoiled child of the Blessed Trinity,” she wrote. “She knows no law. Everything yields to her in heaven and on earth. The whole of heaven gazes on her with delight. She plays before the ravished eyes of God himself.”

God With Us

The birth to Joachim and Anna of a little girl “full of grace” (Lk 1:28) set in motion great rolling waves of grace that reach even to us, for she was born to be the Mother of Christ. “And from His fulness have we all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16). All the joy of today’s festival is summed up in the last three words of the Gospel: “God with us” (Mt 1:23).

In the birth of the Child Mary, “those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:79) see the first glimmers of the long-awaited Dayspring from on high (cf. Lk 1:78). Joachim and Anna rejoice! Abraham and Sarah rejoice! The ancestors of Jesus Christ rejoice!

Rejoicing Ahead of Time

Today, with good reason, Mother Church gives us the Genealogy of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew. The long list of patriarchs and of prophets, of kings and of warriors, of saints and of sinners is transformed by the birth of Mary. We see all the ancestors of Christ standing on tiptoe to see the joy that comes to them from afar. With the birth of Mary they begin to rejoice ahead of time.

A Virgin Shall Conceive

This is the little girl who will give her consent to the Angel -- “Be it done unto me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38) -- “therefore the child to be born of her will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). The Mother of the Messiah has arrived. Isaiah’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is 7:14).

Her Voice and Her Face

The cries of little Mary announce the arrival of the Bridegroom in the night of history. “I hear my Beloved! Behold He comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills (Ct 2:8). In the daughter of Joachim and Anna we can already see the human features of the Word made flesh. Her face announces His. Speaking at the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello two years ago on September 1st, Pope Benedict XVI called her, “Our Lady in whose face -- more than in any other creature -- we can recognize the features of the Incarnate Word.” The face of Maria Bambina already reveals the Human Face of God.

The Voice of the Word

The sound of little Mary’s voice is jubilation to our ears because it means that the voice of the Word is very close! Soon the Beloved will lift up His voice: at Bethlehem in the cries of an infant; at Nazareth as a little boy learning His Hebrew alphabet and beginning to read the Scriptures in the synagogue; at Jerusalem in dialogue with the elders in the Temple; on the Mount of the Beatitudes; in Galilee and in Judea; in the Cenacle and in Gethsemane; on the Cross, saying: “Behold your mother” (Jn 19:27); “I thirst” (Jn 19:28); “Father forgive them” (Lk 23:34); “Father, into thy hands” (Lk 23:46); “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). In the splendour of His resurrection, He will call another Mary by name, and He will ask Peter, “Do you love me?” (Jn 21:17).

The inarticulate cries of the newborn baby Myriam, daughter of Joachim and of Anna, announce all of this. And so we bend over the cradle of Maria Bambina, the Mother of God, and say to her in the words of the Canticle: “O my dove, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely (Ct 2:14).

The Heart of the Mother and the Heart of the Son

In your face, O little Mary, we already see that of Jesus; in your voice, we already hear His. Your voice, O little Mary, is sweet to our ears; your face is lovely to our eyes, for He whom the whole universe cannot contain will be enclosed in your womb. He will grow for nine months beneath your Immaculate Heart. Out of your flesh and blood the Holy Spirit will form a human Heart for the Son of God, the very Heart that, together with yours, will be pierced on Calvary.

Cause of Our Joy

You, O little Mary, Maria Bambina, are the Cause of our Joy! Your appearance in the arms of your mother announces that the Word of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, will soon appear in your arms. And you have but one desire, one joy: to give us your Son, to draw us to Him, that your joy might be ours and that our joy might be fulfilled.

As we celebrate this Holy Sacrifice, we ask Maria Bambina, the little Child Mary, to chase all sadness, all coldness, and all fear from our hearts, that we, like little children, may worthily welcome her Son, her very Flesh and Blood in the holy and life-giving Mysteries.

18 posted on 09/08/2008 10:21:10 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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