Birth of Mary
There are three nativity feasts which are celebrated in the church. The most popular and well known is, of course, the Birth of Christ. After all, the center of worship our worship in the church is that of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist also holds a feast day which celebrates his birth and is celebrated six months before that of Christ. The other is the Nativity of Mary, which is also known as the Nativity of the Theotokos.
The Feast is celebrated on September 8th, 9 months after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8th), which is the belief that Mary was Full of Grace from the moment of conception. This peculiar belief has caused a lot of grief and drawn much criticism from many post reformation sects, possibly because of a lack of understanding about the churches stance on Mary. Nevertheless, in the church it is another milestone in the liturgical year, reminding us, not only of the woman who would say “yes”, but of the sanctifying grace which would fill all followers of Christ in Baptism.
Tradition holds that Mary’s parents were St. Anne and St. Joachim, and that Mary was born at home, which is demonstrated in the art and iconography depicting her birth.
Our Lady’s Nativitye
Joye in the risinge of our orient starr,
That shall bringe forth the Sunne that lent her light;
Joy in the peace that shall conclude our warr,
And soone rebate the edge of Satan’s spight;
Load-starr of all engolfd in worldly waves,
The card and compasse that from shipwracke saves.
The patriark and prophettes were the floures
Which Tyme by course of ages did distill,
And culld into this little cloude the shoures
Whose gracious droppes the world with joy shall fill;
Whose moysture suppleth every soule with grace,
And bringeth life to Adam’s dyinge race.
For God, on Earth, she is the royall throne,
The chosen cloth to make His mortall weede;
The quarry to cutt out our Corner-stone,
Soyle full of fruite, yet free from mortall seede;
For heavenly floure she is the Jesse rodd
The childe of man, the parent of God.
Robert Southwell (1560-1595)