08 September 2012

8 September - Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

Weather – As the weather is on the day of Mary’s birth, so it will be for four weeks.


I found a French hymn in honor of Our Lady’s birthday in a 19th century almanac, but there is no further information, so I don’t know how old it is:

Au point du jour dans nos divins concerts,
Chantons le nom de la Sainte Marie,
Et consacrons à elle nos de chants divers
Pour que chacq’un l’announce et le publie,
Et que personne ne jamais oublie
Le jour natal de la Mere de Dieu,
Nous sur la terre chantons aujourdui,
De meme que les Anges dans les cieux,
Le lever d’une étoile glorieuse.
O Rayon du Matin, Lune du Soir
Vierge éspousèe, mere de Dieu piuse,
Lampe au pecheur ecarté de l’espoir.
Nous vous chantons de Anges souveraine,
Apres Jesus, vous serez notre appui,
Et de nos coeurs serez seule la Reine,
A nous conduire à la gloire avec lui.

For Lady Day, here is a story that I enjoy from the Golden Legend :

There was a widow who had a son whom she loved tenderly, and that son was taken by enemies and put in prison fast bound.  And when she heard thereof, she wept without comfort, and prayed unto our blessed Lady with right devout prayers that she would deliver her son.  Finally she saw that her prayers availed her not, and entered then into the church where there was a carved image of our Lady, and stood before the image and reasoned with it in this manner, saying: “O blessed Virgin, I have prayed often to thee for my son that thou shouldst deliver him, and thou hast not helped me, his wretched mother.  I prayed also to thy Son to help me and yet I feel no fruit. And therefore like as my son is taken from me so shall I take away thine, and set him in prison in hostage for mine.”

And in saying this, she approached near and took away from the image the Child that she held in her lap, and wrapped it in clean clothes and shut it in her chest, and locked it fast right diligently, and was right joyful that she had so good hostage for her son, and kept it much diligently. 

And the night following, the blessed Virgin Mary came to the son of the same widow, and opened to him the door of the prison, and commanded him to go thence, and said to him: “Son, say to thy mother that she yield to me again my Son since I have delivered her son.”  And he issued and came to his mother, and told to her how our blessed Lady had delivered him, and she was joyful, and took the Child and came to the church and delivered Him to our Lady, saying: “Lady I thank you, for ye have delivered to me my son, and here I deliver to you yours again, for I confess that I have mine.”

[This is right up there with stories of people who, if their prayers are not answered, will turn the statues of their family saints to face the wall like naughty children.  Yes, they may seem pagan and superstitious, but to me they speak of people who believe in the communion of saints - that the saints are not some lofty personages sitting on clouds, far away and out of earshot, their holiness like a curtain dividing them from the Church Militant.  Rather, the Church Triumphant is part of the family, and dealt with as such.  The woman in the story above talked to Our Most Blessed Lady, Queen of Heaven, as one mother to another, and in much the same voice of one mother saying that the other mother has kept her son too long, and it's time to send him home.  I like that.]

"Birth of the Virgin", Anna Brownell Jameson, Legends of the Madonna (1867), p. 147.
“St. Anne and the young Mary”, Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Catholic Laity (1896), p.8.
“Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, The Golden Legend (1489)