September 8th
Nativity of Mary, the Mother of God

Nativity of Mary, the Mother of GodIt is the custom now for men, husbands in particular, to assist at the birth of their children.  They share with their wives something awesome and special, a wonderful moment, a miracle which defies description.   At one time of course, this moment belonged only to the Mothers, and the midwives and her female assistants, while the men waited anxiously for the news.

Those who have had the great joy to be present at a birth, liken it to being present in a Temple.   They have spoken about the moment of birth-giving with reverence, in words that might belong to a prayer.  Their account sounds more like a meditation about something profoundly holy, something too special.  They fear, lest saying too much about it, the wonder be lost, as if many words might defile the memory.

A great Philosopher said that the whole end of a thing, is contained in the beginning of the thing, as if by mystery.  Perhaps this is one of the truths we encounter as we witness birth?  All is potential, all is hopeful.  There is so much promise and joy, as we behold the child take their first breath, sense the light of day, enter a new way of living.  A new child is utterly pure, perfect, at peace with all the world, and all the world looks kindly upon the newborn.

For Mary, this is utterly true.  She is totally pure, perfect, at peace with the whole world.  On the day of her birth, she embodies the hope of all creation, and we look lovingly upon this newborn miracle.  It is a moment of hope, and of what potential!   What she is, wonderful as that is, will be made more wonderful by her stainless and all-pure life; her generous 'yes' to God's will; her divine maternity; her own passion and glorification.  If the philosopher is correct, then all that wonder is present here, in this humble beginning, this humble, yet glorious birth.

We who honor the Nativity of the Mother of God, celebrate a momentous day, when a wondrous chain of events was set in motion, which would lead to nothing less than our own Salvation.

Of course, Mary is an image of the whole human race, that is, of you and me.  She was called upon by God, to share in the wondrous work of the salvation of the world, by her holiness, by her purity, by her willingness to say 'yes' to God, offering herself to do God's will.   God took her offering, and made it infinitely glorious.

Let us call upon the Mother of God in prayer, that she might inspire in us a generous spirit.   Let us pray that God might purify us, make us holy, give us courage to say 'YES' to His will in all things, that He might make of our offering, something wonderful, a song of praise to his glory.  Then, will the promise of our own birth be fulfilled.

We stand among all those generations who call Mary, 'blessed'.  Let us rejoice in her holy nativity.  Let us glory in the mystery of God's love for his people.  Let us worship God who saves us through such a wonderful plan, present in hope and mystery at Mary's birth.   Let us give thanks, that simple men like you and me have been chosen to witness this blessed event.  A moment to treasure, a memory to enjoy, an occasion to celebrate, a reason to pray.

Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to the universe;
for from you rose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God.
He took away the curse.
He gave the blessing.
By trampling Death He gave us everlasting life
.

Written by a monk of the Byzantine Church.
Copyright ©1998 http://www.byzcath.org.


Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

But if a person is constantly mindful of God, he will rejoice: as the psalmist says, "I remembered God, and I rejoiced" (Psalms 77:3). For when the intellect is gladdened by the remembrance of God, then it forgets the afflictions of this world, places its hope in Him, and is no longer troubled or anxious.

St. Peter of Damaskos, "JOY" (from "The 24 Discourses), "The Philokalia vol. III," - pp. 260 - 263.