+ The feast of the Birth of Mary bridges the promises made to the people of Israel with the coming of the long-awaited Messiah.
+ According to tradition, Mary was born to Ann and Joachim, an elderly couple who had long prayed that God would bless them with a child. Although stories of the birth and childhood of Mary of Nazareth are not included in the Sacred Scripture, there are many legends related to the early life of the Mother of Jesus.
+ This feast is connected with a fifth-century basilica built on the site of the pool of Bethesda (see John 5:1-9), a site believed by some to have been the location of the home of Saints Joachim and Ann; the Basilica of St. Ann stands there today.
+ The liturgical celebration of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was introduced in the city of Rome by Pope Sergius I.
For prayer and reflection
The Lord begot me, the firstborn of his ways,
the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
From of old I was poured forth,
at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water.—Provers 8:22-24a
On September 8 we also remember Saint István (Stefan) Pongrácz. A Jesuit priest and missionary near Kosice (in modern Slovakia), he was arrested by Calvinist troops and martyred for his Catholic Faith on September 8, 1619; he was beatified in 1995.
Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord,
the gift of heavenly grace,
that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
may bring deeper peace
to those for whom the birth of her Son
was the dawning of salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.