Today, on September 8th, the Church observes Mary’s birthday, known as the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the liturgical calendar. And while the Bible itself doesn’t offer many details, we do have tradition to fall back.
Uncovering the Roots of the Feast of Mary’s Birth
The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is no recent invention. It has deep roots, stretching back to the early Christian centuries. The early Church was quick to embrace this celebration sometime around the 6th century, and like an old family recipe passed down through generations, it gradually made its way into the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar.
Why Celebrate Mary’s Birthday on September 8th?
The decision to designate September 8th as Mary’s birthday wasn’t a random choice. The date was carefully selected to align exactly nine months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the celebration of Mary’s conception (without original sin).
Additionally, September 8th happens to fall close to the autumnal equinox, a time when day and night are in balance. This makes for a perfect metaphor for Mary’s birth because she would later bring into the world Jesus, the “Light of the World,” offering salvation to all of us.
The Personal Significance of the Feast of Mary’s Birth
For us Catholics, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary goes beyond tradition. It’s a deeply personal day, reminding us of God’s providence and the power of prayer. Mary’s birth symbolizes hope, and her role in bringing Christ into the world brings hope to our hearts. It’s a day of reflection, gratitude, and renewed faith. Additionally, the celebration of Mary’s birthday corresponds in the same period of the Novena of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Prayer for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
O Virgin immaculate, thou who by a singular privilege of grace wast preserved from original sin, look in pity upon our separated brethren, who are nevertheless thy children, and call them back to the center of unity. Not a few of them, although separated from the Church, have kept a certain veneration for thee; and do thou, generous as thou art, reward them for it, by obtaining for them the grace of conversion.
Thou wast conqueror of the infernal serpent from the first instant of thy existence; renew even now, for it is now more necessary than ever before, thine ancient triumphs; glorify thy divine Son, bring back to Him the sheep that have strayed from the one fold and place them once more under the guidance of the universal Shepherd who holds the place of thy Son on earth; let it be thy glory, O Virgin who destroyest all heresies, to restore unity and peace once more to all the Christian people.