The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
(ca. 15 B.C.)
Decoration in the Magnificat Chapel
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.
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).