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The Birth of a Queen


”The day of the Nativity of the Mother of God is a day of universal joy because through the Mother of God the entire human race was renewed and the sorrow of the first mother, Eve, was transformed into joy.” ~ Saint John Damascene

The world awoke to news this morning that doctors were increasingly concerned about Queen Elizabeth’s health, a development that seemingly took the world by surprise despite the Queen’s advanced age. She is 96 years old. In a world enamored with pageantry, opulence, and wealth, it was no surprise that this news would dominate the headlines. I say this not to diminish the immensely popular Queen and I certainly prayed a Hail Mary for her upon hearing this news, as I would for anyone in her situation.

But on the topic of Mary, there is another Queen that takes center stage today, a Queen whose reign will be eternal, the Kingdom in which she holds this lofty title indescribable (1 Corinthians 2:9). For today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Commemorated nine months after the December 8th celebration of her Immaculate Conception, the proverbial birthday candles are not lit very often throughout the Catholic Liturgical Year. In fact only three birthdays are recognized by way of Solemnity or Feast. Christmas is of course one of them, the recently celebrated Nativity of Saint John the Baptist another, and our Blessed Mother today. In the words of Saint Augustine, “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley.”

In today’s first reading from the prophet Micah (5:1-4), we’re told that from a humble and otherwise nondescript clan of Bethlehem will emerge a woman who will give birth to the Savior. Micah uses mysterious language when he proclaims that the origin of this future ruler of Israel will be from old, from ancient times. It isn’t until we see that Jesus the Son of God is the fulfillment of this bold prophecy that it would make sense, that a child could be of “old origin,” in fact dating back to the beginning of time.

This revelation and God‘s redemptive plan for the world unfolds through Mary’s participation, through her “yes” to God. The Church uniquely honors the three principal figures connected to the Incarnation and the Redemption. Biblical scholars have pointed out that Mary’s birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments. She brings to an end the stage of expectation and promise while inaugurating the era of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.

“Of her was born Jesus, who was called the Christ.” These are the closing words of Matthew’s Genealogy discourse (Matthew 1:18-24), proclaimed at Mass today. Saint John Vianney would say that these particular and powerful words are the most complete praise which one could give to Mary.

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Of her was born Jesus, who was called the Christ.

In a homily he delivered on the Feast of the Nativity of our Lady, Saint John Vianney went on to say “Yes, Mary is the most beautiful creature that ever came forth from the Hands of the Creator. God presents her to us as a beautiful mirror In which He is reflected, a perfect model of all virtues. Consequently the church looks upon her as her Mother, her protectress, and her powerful helper against her enemies. She celebrates today the happy day in which this lovely star first illumined the earth.”

The Kingdom of Heaven and those who serve in its ethereal realm are cut from a different cloth. Humility, modesty and detachment from the world are the trademarks of those who reside in God’s Heavenly Kingdom for eternity. This attitude, this mindset, begins at the top. As the Queen of Heaven, Mary’s very essence is that of a humble servant.

As pilgrims on this earthly journey who yearn to one day reside in Heaven with Mary our Mother and Queen, we must strive to do more than merely honor Mary with our lips. We must endeavor to secure those virtues which she possessed. She looked upon herself as the least of creatures despite being the greatest, her soul adorned with charity, modesty, and purity. Mary was full of grace because she was filled with Christ. I leave you with the words of Saint Bonaventure, the renowned Franciscan, who said “God could have made a greater world, but he could not have made a Mother more perfect than the Mother of God.”

“Blessed are you, Holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise; from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God”

(** EDITOR’S NOTE: It has indeed been confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II has passed away. May eternal rest be granted unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed through the mercy of God Rest In Peace.)


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