Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Church has celebrated Mary´s birth
since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its
Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the
Immaculate Conception on December 8 (nine months earlier).
Scripture does not give an account
of Mary´s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no
historical value, but it does reflect the development of Christian piety. According to this account,
Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child that will
advance God´s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story (like many biblical counterparts)
stresses the special presence of God in Mary´s life from the beginning.
connects Mary´s birth with Jesus´ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the
light of her birth. "She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the
valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed." The opening
prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary´s Son as the dawn of our salvation and asks for an
increase of peace.