We celebrate the birthdays of great leaders, sometimes even after their death. On such occasions we remember their origin, their person, and with reverence express our gratitude for the work they have done for the country and for mankind. The thought that such zealous and great men existed or exist, evokes in us, a sense of pride and hope. Similarly, we rejoice on the birthdays of our family members, relatives and friends. By offering them birthday gifts and greetings we wish them well and express our gratitude for the love and fellowship which we have experienced through them.
In the family, mother’s birthday is very dear to the children, for it reminds them of her tender motherly love, care and concern. In her, they see the source of life and love of goodness and the meaning of life. This is also true of Mary, our heavenly Mother. In celebrating the birth of the Mother of our Saviour, on 8th Sept we are celebrating the approaching proximity of our salvation. Meditation on her birth reminds us of the unique place she holds in our Christian life, the love and protection we, the Church, have experienced through her.
In the birth of Mary, we see the unfolding of God’s plan, the approaching nearness of our salvation. Now, we realise the significance of the birth for the whole human race. It was one of the great events of salvation history. Though one of us in every respect, except sin, she was destined by God to be the Immaculate Mother of the Redeemer. Her birth fills heaven and earth with joy. In the fullness of time, she would bring forth the Saviour who would drive away the darkness of sin. By offering her Son for the salvation of mankind, she was instrumental in bringing about a profound transformation of the world. Her birth was the starting point of a new humanity, a new world, renewed in Christ. Therefore the Church joyfully sings her praises: Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded a joy to all the world: for from you has risen the Sun of justice, Christ our God. Destroying the curse, He gave blessing; and damning death, He bestowed on us life ever-lasting.
In celebrating Mary’s birth we are celebrating our God-given solidarity, our faith that God saves us in Christ through other persons, that each one of us is bound to others as brothers and sisters. How much we, Indians, need this faith awareness and conviction!
Today on Mary’s birthday how shall we express our devotion to her? Certainly birthday gifts express our love and appreciation for the person celebrating the birthday. What gifts shall we offer to Mary our Mother? Love and sacrifice should characterize any birthday gift of children to their mothers. Perhaps the greatest joy that children can give to their mother on her birthday is to emulate in their lives, those virtues and values which characterize her life; that is a concrete and practical way of responding to mother’s love.
To reproduce in our lives Mary’s values and attitudes, is to put on Christ, to love and serve and sacrifice ourselves, as Christ loved, served and sacrificed Himself. Mary our blessed Mother, obtain for us and for the whole Church this great grace.
Sr. Appolonia (H.C.) – St. Joseph Convent, Aquem