On this day in the Liturgical Calender, the Church celebrates the great Marian Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Those who have consecrated everything they are and everything they have to Her, as well as those who have yet to make a solemn act of consecration to Jesus through Mary, must know that celebrating and reflecting upon this Feast of Mary’s Nativity is integral to a better understanding of that profound littleness and poverty of spirit which authentic Marian devotion ultimately leads us to. For, it is precisely on this feast, which celebrates the “littleness” of our infant Mother Mary, that we learn from her the necessary virtues of littleness, humility,docility, meekness, obedience and silence – that constellation of virtues which the Lord finds so very pleasing, and which laid the foundation for the exalted role that Mary, as the New Eve, would play with her son, the New Adam, in the economy of salvation. For, it is precisely through poverty of spirit, littleness, weakness, and the recognition of our radical dependence on God, a God Who not only loved us into existence, but, additionally, redeemed us from sin while we were still mired in sin, that the Spirit, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is capable of working in those souls who, totally consecrated to Mary, are truly childlike. For, as Christ states, “Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3). It is through the gift of our total consecration, or entrustment, to Mary that the Immaculate Mother of God, through whom the Holy Spirit has freely chosen to work, forms within our souls the image of the silent, obedient, meek, humble and crucified Christ. Let us, for a moment, revisit the great Canticle of Mary, or the Magnificat (recited each day toward the end of Evening Prayer, by all bishops, priests, deacons and religious of the Catholic Church, in the Liturgy of the Hours), in order to better comprehend not only Mary’s own reaction to the knowledge of the exalted role that she had been chosen by God to play in the economy of salvation, but additionally to understand that true poverty of spirit which she necessarily leads all of her clients and consecrated children to, provided they adhere to the dictates of her Motherly Heart and the solemn promises made to her via their total consecration:
And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
“AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
“He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
“HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
“He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
We must never forget that it is misery, spiritual poverty, nothingness, and a genuine humility that recognizes one’s profound sinfulness that draws the Spirit of God to a soul, especially when Our Most Holy Lady has struck her roots in that soul. This is the “school of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” whereby she tends to each one of her children, the numerous little flowers that are cultivated in the garden of her Most Immaculate Heart, who are willing to listen and accede to her requests, in the same spirit of their Immaculate Mother’s lowliness, that so irresistibly drew God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit upon her.
Let us, then, gather around the crib of our infant Mother, to learn from her the lowliness that will draw the Almighty to each one of us, so that, with Mary, we too can sing, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for He has looked upon His servant in [his/her] lowliness!”