The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Homily for September 8, 2007: Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary

Is there anything better than September?

This is wondrous time of year. The weather is perfect. The grass is lush. If you go to a Farmer’s Market, the fruits and vegetables are at their peak. This is the last gasp before autumn and the harvest. Our Jewish neighbors in two weeks will be celebrating Succoth, in tribute to that harvest.

Really, right now, summer has given everything it can, and just can’t contain itself anymore.


And yet. In the middle of that — at this blessed moment in the calendar — God gave us Mary.

How beautiful to realize that the mother of our savior came into the world when the earth was at its richest. One of the first prayers we all learn, the Hail Mary, speaks of Christ as the “fruit of thy womb.” It’s only fitting that the one who bore that fruit came into the world during this time, when nature is giving forth so much.

This is a notable feast for a number of reasons. It’s one of only three birthdays that the Church celebrates – the others being Christmas, and the birth of John the Baptist.

And it comes to us, of course, exactly nine months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception – which, no matter what anyone else tells you, is all about the conception of Mary in HER mother’s womb, NOT the conception of Jesus.


Also, today begins a unique octave devoted to the Blessed Mother. In the middle of the next eight days, we will celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. At the end, next Saturday, we celebrate the memorial for the Queen of Martyrs: Our Lady of Sorrows.

This is a period of special devotion to the Mother of God. We pray in thanksgiving for all that has come to us, and all that is yet to come. We pray for solace and for protection, for our Church and our country. Tuesday we will remember in a special way what happened to our city, and our country, and our world six years ago. That event, and the memory of it, will turn out our thoughts again to Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows.

But for now, we marvel at what September brings us.


Longfellow wrote:

The morrow was a bright September morn;
The earth was beautiful as if new-born;
There was that nameless splendor everywhere,
That wild exhilaration in the air.

That is September.

And into this comes Mary, the woman who gave the world something surpassing that “nameless splendor” and “wild exhilaration.”

She gave us Emmanuel.

Because of this one obedient, beautiful, faithful woman, we are redeemed. Because of Mary, we are not alone.

Because of Mary…“Emmanuel.”

God is with us!

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