Happy Feast of the Nativity everyone! Today is Mary's Birthday! Well, maybe.
You see, the truth of the matter is, it's probably not her birthday. On the bright side, there is a 1/365 chance that today is actually Mary's birthday.You see, the Feast of the Nativity all began in the 5th Century when a basilica was built upon what was believed to be the home of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim...Mary's parents. The feast of the Immaculate Conception, as a side note, was then instituted 9 months before today's feast...once today's feast was established. You got to hand it to our early church fathers for instituting these feast days....not so much for the dates they chose...but for the people they chose to celebrate. Some sticklers out there may complain about the authenticity of this day (of all days). They may argue that there is no possible way to know that today was Mary's birthday. Some may even argue that we have no right to celebrate this feast just because we cannot be 100% certain that today was the day that the Blessed Mother was born.
Pish posh! As far as I'm concerned, the nay-sayers can write another garbage book about this...as a follow-up to their "Christianity stinks just because these crazy fools think Jesus was born in December" series. On another side note, I can't help but note how many nay-sayer and anti-insert religion here books are currently festering besides a pile of insert disgruntled politician here books at my local Borders even with the 80-90% clearance sales.
You see, I could care less about what feast day falls on what date. Yes, I observe what days I can (if I remember them)...but I am more concerned about the reason for the observance and not so much the date. In case you aren't learned in the lore of all that is good and Catholic, the Blessed Virgin Mary is awesome. She is awesome for so many reasons. I could probably write an entire book on how many times she's interceded for my family. I could probably write another book on apparitions, miracles, and all sorts of other things she's been a part of these past two millennia. If I had enough time on my hands to thoroughly research Mary from a historical perspective (historical as in the days of the New Testament)...well, I'd finish my trilogy.
So why is Mary awesome?
I just finished reading "Interview with an Exorcist" by Jose Antonio Fortea. I know it sounds like a strange segue...but bear with me. There is a section in this book where the author addresses the question "Is God's greatest creation Lucifer or the Blessed Virgin Mary?" I though the answer to this question was a "Mary, duh." However, the author brought up a really interesting answer that blew me out of the water. It wasn't anything completely radical or shocking. It was a summation of things I already knew...but summed up in a way that struck me as AWESOME. Fr. Fortea writes about "an inverted parallel" between Mary and Lucifer.
To sum it all up (while attempting to avoid copyright infringement):
Lucifer wanted to be the one in charge and did not obey God. As a result, he fell from heaven and became nothing. Mary, on the other hand, never wished for greatness. She wanted only to be a faithful servant to God. She loved God above all and expressed this love with her obedience. She did all that was asked of her and was crowned the Queen of heaven.
Lucifer once stood as the "Star of the Morning," but ultimately ruined all the greatness that was given to him. Mary, on the other hand, was raised from her lowly state to become the "Star of the Morning of Redemption" and the Queen of Heaven.
Mary became the greatest creation because she allowed God to work through her and accepted God completely. She raised Christ, and became a mother to us all at the foot of the cross. "When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son." This is particularly awesome, in my book, because it sets the premise for more. Mary did not stop at Christ. She did not stop the protecting, the praying, and the teaching when Jesus grew up!
She never stopped being a mother!
She is still a mother to this day...only her attention is not just fixed on her son Christ...but on all her other children as well. She became our mother and, as such, she continues to pray for us, watch over us, protect us, and teach us.
She never stopped faithfully serving God!
She still serves God! Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, and all those other apparitions serve as evidence of this. She continues to deliver messages to us from God...just as she continues to intercede on our behalf. She continues to serve God's selflessly..and even goes out of her way to intercede for us. Why? Because she loves God and she loves us. It's so simple, but so extremely beautiful...so powerfully beautiful.
Mary, regardless of what some nay-sayers out there may say, is a perfect example of what it means to be a faithful servant of God....and that's why she's awesome.