The Feast of the Nativity of the Mary – September 8
Since the fifth century AD, beginning in Jerusalem, the feast of the Nativity of Mary has been celebrated in Christian Churches. It is celebrated exactly nine months after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast and others like it are a reminder that those remembered as holy ones in our community got their start the same way all humans do. They were born of a woman, into a family and a larger community of fallible, imperfect humans, who nevertheless managed to help them grow to adulthood and eventually to sainthood. This should be a source of great hope to all of us.
Mary was no exception. Her parents, Joachim and Anna, had long awaited the birth of a child. Her coming to them was a great gift from God. According to tradition, she lived with them only three years before they took her to the temple to be dedicated to service there. They visited her regularly at the temple as she was growing up until they passed away when she was about 10 years old.
Most of us will never have children following prophecies or angelic announcements of their coming. Most will not take our children to be raised in the temple or our local church. Most of us will live to see our children as grown adults with families of their own. But we will share in the task of parents such as Joachim and Anna, or Zacharia and Elizabeth, or Joseph and Mary: we will do our best to raise the children who have been entrusted to us, to help other parents to raise their own children, and to love and care for children of those we don’t know in other communities around the world. The love, acceptance, patience, gentleness, and consistency we show them in our day to day contact and care will be the qualities that help shape and mold their view of the world and of God.
On this Feast of the Nativity of Mary, may we be open to see the wonder of God’s love shining through the world’s children today and celebrate the continuation of the great chain of birth and love that unites us all in the Lord, leading us to holiness through the adventure of life as it is here and now.