Our Lady's Birthday

September 8
by Sister Danielle M. Peters | Source:
Several events concerning Mary's life are commemorated during the yearly liturgical cycles of the Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian Churches.

Nine months after the feast of Mary's conception, the Church commemorates her birth on September 8, another historical certainty only implicit in the Bible. This liturgical commemoration originated in the East in the fourth century.

Many of the details which the liturgy presents to the faithful were influenced by the apocryphal Protevangelium Jacobi [First Gospel of James] (ca. 150). For example, the names of Mary's parents, Anna and Joachim, are absent from the canonical Scriptures. We have no apostolic testimony confirming this fact, nothing earlier than the Protevangelium Jacobi.

The Church does not place this document on the same level as Holy Scripture. However, it is possible to accept the spiritual truth which underlies this narrative, without necessarily attributing a literal and historical exactness to every detail. The deeper meaning of the story is that from the moment of her birth and even long before it, the Mother of God was specially consecrated to the Holy Trinity, elect and marked out by God.

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