Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

High Altar, St. Mary's Ridge, WI.
O Mystery of Holy Church!
To Christ we sing our hymn of praise,
The Word, the Father’s only Son,
Of woman born in earthly days.

Alone among all women born
God saw thee fit to bear His Son,
Worthy to carry in thy womb
The Lord of all, the Holy One.

Come forth, sweet daughter of thy race,
O little branch, thy beauty show;
A noble blossom shalt thou bear,
Christ, God above and man below.

Lo, as the years of time go by,
We keep the day that marks thy birth,
When, sprung from an illustrious stem,
Thou first didst shine upon the earth.

Earthbound, but now and thanks to thee
Freemen of heaven too, we’re brought
Into a noble peace with God
By means out-reaching human thought.

O Lord, to Thee be glory given,
Whom once the Virgin Mother
bore; * To Father with the Holy Ghost
Be glory now and evermore. Amen.

Mysterium ecclesiae (O Mystery of Holy Church)
Hymn of Vigils for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tapestry from Strausbourg, circa 1500, The Cloisters, New York.

From a Sermon by St. Peter Damian:

Beloved, the birthday of the pure and most blessed Mother of God brings us a special and indeed unparalleled joy, for the good reason that her birth marked the beginning of all human salvation.

In a way impossible to express, almighty God knew, even before human beings were created, that they would perish through the machinations of the devil, but, again before the ages began, his infinite love also formed a plan for their redemption. Not only did he decide, as part of this infinitely wise plan, the manner and order of redemption; he also determined beforehand the moment in time when he would carry out his plan.

Accordingly, just as the Son of God had to be born of the Virgin if the human race was to be redeemed, so also it was necessary for the Virgin to be born through whom the Word was to become flesh. The bridal chamber had first to be constructed that would receive the bridegroom as he came for his marriage with holy Church, the bridegroom for whom David with spiritual joy sang the wedding song that described the Lord as a bridegroom coming from his wedding chamber.

Rightly, then, is the whole earth filled with joyous exultation today; rightly does the entire holy Church sing songs ofpraise at the birth of the Mother of her Spouse. Let us therefore rejoice, beloved, on this day on which we pay homage to the birth of the blessed Virgin and celebrate the beginning of all the feasts of the New Covenant. If Solomon and the Israelites celebrated with great solemnity such a rich and magnificent sacrifice for the dedication of a temple made of stone, how great and intense should be the joy of the Christian people at the birth of the Virgin Mary, into whose womb, as into the holiest of temples, God himself deigned to descend, there to take human nature from her and dwell visibly with human beings! For while we must believe that God indeed descended into Solomon's temple, in a far more wonderful and fruitful way did he deign to abide for our sake in this spiritual sanctuary, that is, the womb of the blessed Virgin, in which the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Altar of St. Anne, Clermont Cathedral.

TODAY is born the Blessed Virgin Mary of the lineage of David: * By whom the salvation of the world has appeared to them that believe: whose glorious life has given light unto the world.

V. Let us joyfully celebrate teh Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

* By whom the salvation of the world has appeared to them that believe: whose glorious life has given light unto the world.

V. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

* By whom the salvation of the world has appeared to them that believe: whose glorious life has given light unto the world.

-Responsory for the first nocturn of Vigils for the Nativity of the BVM