Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

September 8
by americancatholic.org | Source: americancatholic.org
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Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Church has celebrated Marys 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 Marys 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 Gods plan of salvation for the world. Such a story (like many biblical counterparts) stresses the special presence of God in Marys life from the beginning.

St. Augustine connects Marys 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 Marys Son as the dawn of our salvation and asks for an increase of peace.


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