St. Augustine said, “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley.” These words create beautiful imagery in our minds about the Mother of God. And in fact, Mother Mary is that flower that had to come first to foreshadow the salvation promised to us. The scriptures do not have any reference to the date of birth of Mary or anything related to it. But the Apocrypha, the Protoevangelium of James dated prior to 200 AD gives us detailed information regarding the birth of Mary. Nevertheless, the date of the Nativity of Mary is fixed on September 8th with the nine-month earlier celebration on December 8th of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Whatsoever may be the date and the history of the feast, what is significant is that we honour the great persona of Mary, the beginner of everything good to come.
You will need a seed or a root from which a plant or a tree can sprout or grow. You will need the spark for the fire to start. You will need a drop of water for a lake or a river body or a pond to begin. So everything that gives a start to something beautiful can be related to Mother Mary and her nativity. She is the seed, the root, the spark, and a drop that began the whole process of salvation.
After the intense prayers of both St. Anne and St. Joachim, Mary was born. And God kept her immaculate as He had a purpose for her. She was chosen to be the Mother of God. But the feast of the Nativity reminds us that Mother Mary and her Nativity brought a lot of joy to the world. As the antiphon for the Canticle of Zechariah expresses, “Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, proclaims joy to the whole world, for from you arose the glorious Sun of Justice, Christ our God; He freed us from the age-old curse and filled us with holiness; he destroyed death and gave us eternal life.”
The Nativity of Mary foreshadows what is to come; the Redeemer of us all. Her birth is a signal to the unravelling of the plan of God. Her birth is not just a birth on earth but also in heaven as she is to assume into heaven body and soul. If she had a life, it was all predestined for her, beginning from her nativity. Yet she never deterred from doing the will of God. Her mission began right at her conception.
If everything was predestined for us, we would feel a part of the world of George Orwell’s 1984, where everything is decided and willed by the Big Daddy or the Big Boss. The world of Margaret Atwood too takes us through experiences of extreme where we cannot do anything without the prior permission of those who decide for us. They may be presenting a dystopian world but aren’t submitting all our intellect and will to the will of God, and trying to conform to His will equivalent to dystopia. Because when I try to surrender my will for the sake of the Lord I am depriving myself of all the good I would have enjoyed. And that causes suffering and pain in me. But this total surrender of my will and intellect is voluntary. No one forces me to do so. I do it because I love my Lord, and I want to please Him. That is where the magic lies. Mother Mary seems to have understood this fact right from the start therefore her ‘Yes’ to the will of God in her life was always loud and clear.
What do I do then of my preoccupations? What do I do of my ambitions? What do I do with all that I have achieved so far? Well, in good faith, start afresh in the Lord. The saints found it relieving and satisfying to preoccupy themselves with the mission the Lord gave them. How about merging our preoccupations with the preoccupations of the Lord? I am ambitious in life, But for a change how about making the ambition of my God my own? How about achieving many souls gone away from the Lord back to the Lord? Unlike Mary, to make this choice, it will be difficult for us, but there is nothing impossible if we ask for grace from the Lord. May Mary the Mother of God intercede for us. May her nativity plant the seed in us, and its roots go deeper so that we are not shaken by hurdles but profess our faith and be bold witnesses to the gospel. May we be the spark of faith to those around us who are struggling to understand the unfolding life events. May we always be humble to listen and be inspired by the Holy Spirit like Mother Mary.