Many days passed before Almighty God finally completed the masterpiece of His creation. For nine months, the soul of Mary had given form to her virginal body, and the hour, the moment, of her joyful birth approached. As the suffocating Palestinian summer neared its end, the mellowing sun poured abundant torrents of golden light on the opulent plain of Samaria, ripening the rich orchards of autumn fruit. On a magnificent September day, with nature adorned in radiant beauty, the most Holy Virgin came into the world in the white-walled city of Nazareth.
She was probably born in the same house where the great mystery of the Incarnation later took place and where Jesus spent most of His childhood and youth in work and prayer. The angels did not acclaim the coming of the glorious Queen with hymns of joy as they later did the birth of the Savior. Invisible to the eyes of mortal men, the angels considered it an honor to mount guard around the humble crib over which Saints Joachim and Anne lovingly watched. The prophecy of Isaiah had come to pass.
The root of Jesse, ten centuries removed, had sprouted a new branch. On this same branch in but a few years more would blossom the eternal Flower, the Incarnate Word.
The day the Queen of Heaven was born ranks as one of the most beautiful in history since it announced to condemned mankind the long-awaited time of liberation. The birth of Mary begins the work of Redemption.
In her crib, the mother of the Savior illuminates the desolate earth with the grace of her first smiles. Jesus will soon appear and, with His Precious Blood, will erase the sentence of our condemnation. The world which has suffered so much from the ravages of sin will finally delight in the joy of liberty and peace. Slavery will everywhere be abolished, and human dignity will henceforth be respected. Like a flowing stream, graces will spring forth in abundance from the sacraments. We have but to approach and draw from them — without limit — pardon, courage, and life everlasting.
The God who hid in Paradise will descend to earth and never abandon mankind. After His Ascension, Our Lord will remain among us under the Eucharistic veil until the end of time. Christ will visibly reign over the glorious souls of the resurrected elect. Such are the great joys the birth of Mary announces. “Thy nativity, O Virgin Mother of God has announced joy to the whole world.”
According to certain traditions, no one in the small town of Nazareth where Saints Joachim and Anne lived paid heed to the new arrival. Although the blood of King David flowed in her veins, her family had fallen from its ancient splendor. Who noticed these impoverished people?
Anne and Joachim had been childless for many years, but the Lord had at last answered their prayers. They saw their daughter Mary as the measure of His celestial goodness to them. Little did they suspect, however, the veritable treasures the Most High had instilled in the soul of their child. They could not have imagined the wonder of her Immaculate Conception. They did not realize that the Mother of the Redeemer now lay in their loving arms.
The Jews of the time were plunged in discouragement. The voice of the prophets had not been heard for years. Having lost their political freedom, they believed Divine Providence had abandoned them.
It was then that the hidden work of infinite Mercy began to be accomplished in their midst.
If only the obscurity of Our Lady’s birth would teach us to make little of human greatness! Let us keep a Christian perspective of indifference toward the fleeting vanities that Christ Himself shunned in His Mother’s birth. Were these important, surely He would not have refused them to His mother.
This great mystery also teaches us never to lose heart. The Immaculate Mother came into the world at a time when the Jews had lost hope. Indeed, they thought all was lost. Let us reap the benefit of this lesson. We often become discouraged when, calling on heaven to assist us, our request is not immediately granted. Sometimes God waits until we are on the brink of the abyss before extending His hand of mercy. So, let us not become discouraged and cease praying! The Almighty will intervene at the very moment when we believe ourselves completely abandoned. If we have confidence — an unlimited supply of confidence — we will be greatly rewarded!
First Photo by: Ralph Hammann