Today the Church celebrates the Nativity (birthday) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pasted below is the collect (opening prayer) from Mass today:
Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Reading this prayer I’m reminded of a quote of Saint Cyprian of Carthage which says, “He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.” In light of today’s feast and the important role of Our Lady in the “dawning of salvation” we could also say: one cannot have Christ as savior if he does not also have Mary as mother. Since we cannot grant ourselves salvation, we need the continual outpouring of God’s grace to make us ready for eternal life. Being destined for salvation requires that one become a lover of God. A real fear of any lover is the fear of offending the beloved. In the case of the lover of God the fear is offending through sin. For this reason we pray today that celebrating and honoring the birth of Our Lady may bring us “deeper peace.” Simply put, we more we become more faithful sons and daughters of Mary, the greater our peace will be now and at the hour of our death!