|Virgin of Notre Dame de Paris|
French, 14th Century
Paris, Cathedral de Notre Dame de Paris
With floral decorations in honor of
her birthday, taken by me September 8, 2006
In recent weeks I have noted that one question keeps recurring. It is "Mary's birthday is ..... March?" Well, the question is a good one, but the presumption on which it is based is a bit of a problem because Mary's birthday is not in March at all.
There is probably a conflation going on here in the mind or minds of the questioners. The two things being conflated are both events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and both are feasts of the Church. One is in March, but the other one is in September.
The Annunciation, about which I have recently been blogging quite a lot (with a few more to go) is celebrated on March 25th. No brain surgery needed to see why that date was selected to celebrate the important event, the Incarnation of the Lord through the assent of Mary to the message of the Angel Gabriel. It was placed on March 25th because it had been decided to celebrate the Birth of the Lord (the Nativity) on December 25th. By counting back nine months from the birthdate, we arrive at March 25th.
|Boccacio Boccaccino, Birth of the Virgin|
The other date is the birthday of the Virgin Mary. This was set on September 8th, with the date of her conception set nine months earlier, on December 8th. This is known as the Immaculate Conception, not because there was no sex involved in it but because, to prepare her spiritually for her future role as the Mother of Jesus (Mother of God), she was granted the grace to be formed without any participation in the root sin of humanity, Original Sin.
So, let's get this straight. Mary's birthday is NOT in March. It is in September. But both days (in March and in September) celebrate the same event in different ways, which is the Incarnation of the Divine Word as a human being through a remarkable young woman who was specially prepared by God for her important role in it.
© M. Duffy, 2015