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Happy Birthday, Mary! by Ann Walker

The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast Day: September 8

When getting ready for the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may wonder what Mary must have looked like as an infant. Did she have little curls like we often picture that Jesus had? Did she have eyes that stared endlessly into her mother, Saint Anne's eyes or her father, Saint Joachim's eyes? She certainly was surrounded by holiness! What was she like as a little girl or teenager? Did she listen attentively while her mother guided her in her studies? We often see Mary pictured beside her mother who has a book in her lap. Honor thy father and mother. We know Mary obeyed the will of God. What a wonderful role model She is for us!

It is hard to find a picture of what Mary looked like as a little child. In 1935, Mother Margaret Mary Nealis R.S.C.J. created an image and called it "Stella Matutina," which is Latin for "Morning Star." The name represents how Mary lights the way and leads us to Jesus.

We celebrate the birthdays of those who are special to us. Indeed, Mary is especially worthy of celebration. I wonder what Mary's birthday celebrations were like. We can honor Mary's birthday by thinking about how we can respond to our daily calls in ways that would be pleasing to Mary. We believe that Mary speaks to Jesus on our behalf and offers Him our prayers. It is up to us to come to Mary and lay our requests at her feet. We celebrate that we have such a loving Mother to give us the hope and strength we need on our earthly journey and to guide us along the right paths so that we will be united with Mary and Jesus in Heaven someday.

I'm not sure why I didn't know much about this devotion; but now that I know about it, I am a big proponent of practicing the Devotion of The First Five Saturdays in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Since we are celebrating the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a nice birthday gift would be to begin this devotion! All you need is a calendar to write down the days you are setting aside for the First Saturdays of each month for five months. Then, on each of those First Saturdays, you go to Mass, receive the Eucharist, go to Confession, pray the Rosary, and meditate on the Mysteries of the Rosary for at least 15 minutes.

I was surprised how refreshing it was to keep up with these rather simple observances which make reparations for our sins. Granted, I don't know many people who enjoy going to Confession. However, the practice becomes very therapeutic! We think about times we have done things that we shouldn't have and think of what we need to be forgiven of. Then, we consider ways to keep ourselves from falling into the same traps. We hopefully even come up with a plan to do better in the future! This practice helps to keep us aware of our actions. When we consider our actions through the lens of Mary and Jesus, we begin to change our actions for the better! We know that Mary suffered much grief when she saw how people treated Jesus. When we continue to sin--no matter how small--it is like we are wounding Jesus again. When we practice this Devotion, we actually end up not only helping ourselves, but we help others as well because our prayers are lifted for the sins of humankind. It is comforting to know that God gives us ways to make things better. The process of making Mary happy is a wonderful way to celebrate her life. We are thankful that God placed favor on Mary so she later would become the Mother of Jesus.

On Mary's Birthday, consider Gospa Missions Amazing Grace Books & Gifts for beautiful items that inspire us to love more...learn more! 

Did you know that Gospa stands for "Lady'" and that Gospa Missions stands for "Our Lady's Mission?" It is our goal to evangelize while supporting the children in our orphanage in India. When you purchase gifts through Gospa, you are joining with us in our vision. Thank you for helping us to do Mary's work!

 - By Ann Walker

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