On September 8th we celebrate our Lady’s Nativity…
Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!
Here’s a bit of background on the origin of the feast from The Holyday Book by Fr. Francis Weiser, SJ:
The Birth of Mary
On Our Lady’s birthday the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Savior’s mother, Mary. The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too. Let us often call upon the Blessed Virgin as “Cause of our joy”, one of the most beautiful titles in her litany.
Since September 8 marks the end of summer and beginning of fall, this day has many thanksgiving celebrations and customs attached to it. In the Old Roman Ritual there is a blessing of the summer harvest and fall planting seeds for this day.
The winegrowers in France called this feast “Our Lady of the Grape Harvest”. The best grapes are brought to the local church to be blessed and then some bunches are attached to hands of the statue of Mary. A festive meal which includes the new grapes is part of this day.
In the Alps section of Austria this day is “Drive-Down Day” during which the cattle and sheep are led from their summer pastures in the slopes and brought to their winter quarters in the valleys. This was usually a large caravan, with all the finery, decorations, and festivity. In some parts of Austria, milk from this day and all the leftover food are given to the poor in honor of Our Lady’s Nativity.
Tomorrow we will celebrate our Lady’s special day by attending the Traditional Latin Mass. After Mass, we’ll feast on blueberry muffins (a suggestion from Catholic Culture!) and hot tea. We’ll deck the mantle which holds our largest statue of our Lady, with the last few flowers from the Mary Garden. The little ones will enjoy coloring this beautiful picture of our Lady with baby Jesus.
And then there’s this sweet prayer from Maria Bambina:
Prayer to the Holy Child Mary
Sweet Child Mary, destined to be the Mother of God and our sovereign and loving Mother, by the prodigies of grace you lavish upon us, mercifully listen to my humble supplications. In the needs which press upon me from every side and especially in my present tribulation, I place all my trust in you.
O Holy Child, by the privileges granted to you alone and by the merits which you have acquired, be merciful to me this day. Show that the source of spiritual favors and the continuous benefits which you dispense are inexhaustible, because your power with the Heart of God is unlimited. Deign through the immense profusion of graces with which the Most High has enriched you from the first moment of your Immaculate Conception, grant me, O Celestial Child, my petition, and I shall eternally praise the goodness of your Heart.
Blessings to you as you prepare to celebrate our Lady’s Birthday!