BIRTH OF MARY
Today, the 8th of September, marks the feastday of the nativity of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church has celebrated Mary’s Birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.
To help you celebrate this feast, here’s a lovely poem by Rilke:
O what must it have cost the angels
not suddenly to burst into song, as one bursts into tears,
since indeed they knew: on this night the mother is being
born to the boy, the One, who shall soon appear.
Soaring they held themselves silent and showed the direction
where, alone, Joachim’s farm lay;
ah, they felt in themselves and in space the pure precipitation,
but none might go down to him.
For the two were already quite beside themselves with ado.
A neighbor-woman came and played wise and did not know how,
and the old man, carefully, went and withheld the mooing
Of a dark cow. For so it had never yet been.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated from the German by M.D. Herter Norton
Trapp, Jacob, ed. Modern Religious Poems: A Contemporary Anthology. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.
Art: The Birth of the Virgin (1303). Fresco by Giotto di Bondone. Presently at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova, Italy.