There is no biblical record of Mary’s birth. What we do know of her birth and early life is little more than pious legend—snippets contained in texts like the Protoevangelium of James, a non-canonical account, shed much light on the situation and events.
“The day of the Nativity of the Mother of God is a day of universal joy because through the Mother of God, the entire human race was renewed, and the sorrow of the first mother, Eve, was transformed into joy.”Saint John Damascene
Even Mary’s official birthday—September 8—is more than a date plucked from the calendar at random. The significance to September 8th is that it is exactly nine months from the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Still, Catholics have gathered to celebrate Mary’s birth since at least the 6th Century.
Though the stories surrounding Mary’s birth and childhood may or may not be completely accurate, they do get one thing right—the Blessed Mother’s birth was anything but ordinary. The Church teaches that Mary was conceived without sin, that from the moment of her birth she was free from the stain of original sin. We may not know much, but we can look to the Saints for a glimpse of what Mary could have been like during her life. In honor of Mary’s birthday, here are 8 quotes to help you get to know your heavenly Mother.
“As soon as she [Mary] had the use of reason, that is, from the first moment of her immaculate conception in the womb of St. Ann, from that time she began with all her powers to love her God; and thus she continued to do, ever-advancing more in perfection and love through her whole life. All her thoughts, her desires, her affections, were wholly given to God; not a word, not a motion, not a glance of the eye, not a breath of hers that was not for God and for his glory, never departing one step, nor separating herself for one moment from the divine love.” – Saint Alphonsus Ligouri
“Think of what the Saints have done for their neighbor because they loved God. But what Saint’s love for God can match Mary’s? She loved Him more in the first moment of her existence than all the Saints and angels ever loved Him or will love Him. Our Lady herself revealed to Sister Mary Crucified that the fire of her love was most extreme. If Heaven and earth were placed in it, they would be instantly consumed. And the ardors of the seraphim, compared with it, are like cool breezes. Just as there is not one among all the Blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving Mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and Saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary’s love for even a single soul.” – Saint Alphonsus Ligouri
“Her [Mary’s] example of faithful perseverance in doing the will of God and her heavenly reward are a source of courage and hope for all of us.” – Pope Benedict XVI
“Mary was the first person to take the ‘way’ to enter the Kingdom of God that Christ opened, a way which is accessible to the humble, to all who trust in the word of God and endeavor to put it into practice.” – Pope Benedict XVI
“Mary is a woman who loves. We see it in the delicacy with which she recognizes the need of the spouses at Cana and makes it known to Jesus. We see it in the humility with which she recedes into the background during Jesus’s public life, knowing that the Son must establish a new family and that the Mother’s hour will come only with the cross, which will be Jesus’ true hour. When the disciples flee, Mary will remain beneath the cross; later, at the hour of Pentecost, it will be they who gather around her as they wait for the Holy Spirit.” – Pope Benedict XVI
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