THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Image may contain: 4 people

THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Liturgical Year
Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B.

Let us celebrate the Nativity of the Virgin Mary; let us adore her Son, Christ our Lord. (Invitatory of the Feast) Such is the invitation addressed to us to-day by the Church. Let us hearken to her call; let us enter into her overflowing joy. The Bridegroom is at hand, for his throne is now set up on earth; yet a little while, and he will appear in the diadem of our human nature, wherewith his Mother is to crown him on the day of the joy of his heart, and of ours. To-day, as on the glorious Assumption, the sacred Canticle is heard; (Lessons of the 1st Nocturn) but this time it belongs more to earth than to heaven.

Truly a better Paradise than the first is given us at this hour. Eden, fear no more that man will endeavour to enter thee; thy Cherubim may leave the gates and return to heaven. What are thy beautiful fruits to us, since we cannot touch them without dying? Death is now for those who will not eat of the fruit so soon to appear amid the flowers of the virgin earth to which our God has led us.

Hail, new world, far surpassing in magnificence the first creation! Hail blessed haven, where we find a calm after so many storms! Aurora dawns; the rainbow glitters in the heavens; the dove comes forth; the ark rests upon the earth, offering new destinies to the world. The haven, the aurora, the rainbow, the dove, the ark of salvation, the Paradise of the heavenly Adam, the creation whereof the former was but a shadow: all this art thou, sweet infant, in whom already dwell all grace, all truth, all life. Continue reading

A Brief History of the Miraculous Image of Maria Bambina

Image may contain: 6 people

A Brief History of the Miraculous Image of Maria Bambina

The Miraculous Image of Maria Bambina was made before 1730 by a Franciscan nun, who afterwards entrusted the image to others, so that during the ensuing years she eventually came into the care of the Sisters of Charity at Lovere, Italy. In 1866 these Sisters of Charity were requested to take over the management of the Hospital of Ciceri in Milan. In 1876 the waxen image was carried to their Mother House at Via Santa Sofia 13, where the Bambina has remained ever since. Throughout this period, the statue was exposed for veneration only on the 8th of September, the Feast of Mary’s Nativity, but in 1884 Maria Bambina manifested her desire to reward those who honored her by their devotion to her Holy Infancy. One of the Sisters, Sr. Josephine Woinovich, due to paralysis in her arms and feet, was bedridden and in unbearable pain. On the 8th of September, Our Lady’s Nativity, she begged Mother Superior to bring Maria Bambina and to leave the image near her overnight. The following morning the Mother Superior was inspired to take the image, so old, worn, and grayish colored, to the other sick Sisters in the infirmary so that they could venerate and kiss her. In the infirmary was a fervent Novice, Guila Macario, who was unable to move because of her serious illness, but who, overcome by her ardent faith, took the Maria Bambina into her arms and pleaded with her in tender and loving words for the grace of her recovery, if such was according to God’s Holy Will. She was instantaneously cured, for such faith and confidence moves mountains! And at the very same time, the miraculous image itself underwent an amazing transformation from its former dull gray color to the warm flesh hues it has today, as can be seen, where she is enshrined in the Sanctuary of the Mother House in Milan. Many graces and miracles are attributed to the beautiful devotion to Maria Bambina, among them the recovery of Sister Josephine Woinovich herself. For this reason, the Sisters of Charity became commonly known as the Sisters of Maria Bambina.

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

Image may contain: 5 people, people sitting and indoor

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

(ca. 15 B.C.)

The birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary announced joy and the approaching salvation of a lost world. Mary was brought into the world not like other children of Adam, infected with the contagion of sin, but pure, holy, beautiful, and glorious, adorned with all the most precious graces fitting for the One predestined to be the Mother of the Saviour. Never did She have the slightest inclination towards anything other than the absolute and immediate Will of God. She appeared indeed in the weak condition of all mortals, but in the eyes of Heaven She already transcended the highest seraphim in purity, humility, charity, and the richest ornaments of grace. God had created Her in the original grace, as in the beginning Adam and Eve had enjoyed that ineffable privilege; after original sin, it was lost for all Adam’s posterity, until the time of the Redemption dawned in Mary. (Cf. I Cor. 15:21-23)

The nations celebrate, often too noisily, the birthdays of the great ones of this earth… How then ought we, Christians, to rejoice in that of the Virgin Mary, Mother of our Salvation, and to present publicly to God the homage of our best praises and thanksgiving for the great mercies He has shown in Her, imploring Her mediation with Her Divine Son! Jesus of Nazareth will not reject the supplications of His most holy Mother, through whom He chose to descend from Heaven; She, the Spouse of the Canticle, is all beautiful and is the One He was pleased to obey while on earth. Her love, care, and tenderness for Him, the title and qualities which She bears, the charity and graces with which She is adorned, and the crown of glory with which She is honored, incline Him readily to receive Her recommendations and petitions.

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
Statue of the little Infant Mary
O.D.M. pinxit
Reflection: The Angelical Salutation is the prayer which most pleases Mary; but when time is short we can invoke Her constantly by short ejaculatory prayers, such as the one She entrusted to Catherine Labouré in 1830 with the Miraculous Medal: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee! or, shorter yet: My Mother, my confidence!

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).