The following article expounds upon the mystery of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, drawing from Scripture and Sacred Tradition; exploring how Mary is the New Eve, and how Mary’s spiritual birth in the soul through devotion to Her leads to the growth of the life of Christ within; concluding with a poem titled: ‘Birth of Eve the New’.
|‘The Birth of Mary’, Unknown painter, Fifteenth Century, Cologne.|
The 8th of September is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day on which the Church celebrates the Birth of Mary, who as Mother of Jesus the God-Man, is venerated by the Church as the Mother of God. In the Divine Office the Benedictus antiphon for the day contains the following words: “Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, announced joy to the whole world, for from you has risen the Sun of Justice, Christ our God. He released us from the ancient curse and made us blessed.” If Jesus’ birth is described as the arising of the Sun of Justice, Mary’s birth is the Dawning of the Sun of Mercy –for She is the one of whom it is written: “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun…”? (Song 6:10).
Mary’s Birth as the Dawn of Mercy
Mary as the New Eve
Mary gave birth without having relations with a man. As in the beginning Eve was born from Adam without a carnal relationship, so it happened for Joseph and Mary, his wife. Eve brought to the world the murdering Cain; Mary brought forth the Lifegiver. One brought into the world him who spilled the blood of his brother (Gen 4:1-16); the other, him whose blood was poured out for the sake of his brothers. One brought into the world him who fled, trembling because of the curse of the earth; the other brought forth him who, having taken the curse upon himself, nailed it to the Cross (Col 2:14).
Let our land laugh and sing with merriment, bathed in the glory of this great Virgin's rising. She is the flower of the fields on which the priceless lily of the valleys hath blossomed. This is she whose delivery changed the nature that we draw from our first parents, and cleansed away their offence. At her that dolorous sentence which was pronounced over Eve ended its course; to her it was never said: In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. She brought forth a Child, even the Lord, but she brought him forth, not in sorrow, but in joy. Eve wept, but Mary laughed. Eve's womb was big with tears, but Mary's womb was big with gladness. Eve gave birth to a sinner, but Mary gave birth to the sinless One… For Eve's disobedience, Mary offered obedience; and for Eve's unbelief, Mary offered faith.
|'Virgin Mary consoles Eve', Sr Grace Remington.|
Allowing Mary to be Born in One’s Soul
She enriches our good works by adorning them with her own merits and virtues. It is as if a poor peasant, wishing to win the friendship and favour of the king, were to go to the queen and give her an apple - his only possession - for her to offer it to the king. The queen, accepting the peasant's humble gift, puts it on a beautiful golden dish and presents it to the king on behalf of the peasant. The apple in itself would not be a gift worthy of a king, but presented by the queen in person on a dish of gold, it becomes fit for any king.
|'Breastfeeding. Madonna and Child', Guido Reni, 1628.|
At the time of Mary’s birth the whole world was plunged in darkness… [but] when Mary was born a light arise amid the darkness: the dawn of the glorious day that was to usher in the Redeemer. So, too, the darkness of the sinner’s soul is dispersed by Mary’s holy influence. Where the love of her is born in the soul, all becomes full of light, and Jesus comes to make His habitation there. Mary, in the first hour of her life, brought more glory to God than all the Saints of the Old Testament. In her were made perfect the obedience of Abraham, the chastity of Joseph, the patience of Job, the meekness of Moses, the prudence of Josue [Joshua]. It is because she is the model and pattern of these and all other virtues that she can communicate them to us.