THE birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary announced joy and the near approach of salvation to the lost world. Mary was brought forth in the world not like other children of Adam, infected with the loathsome contagion of sin, but pure, holy, beautiful, and glorious, adorned with all the most precious graces which became her who was chosen to be the Mother of God. She appeared indeed in the weak state of our mortality; but in the eyes of Heaven she already transcended the highest seraph in purity, brightness, and the richest ornaments of grace. If we celebrate the birthdays of the great ones of this earth, how ought we to rejoice in that of the Virgin Mary, presenting to God the best homage of our praises and thanksgiving for the great mercies He has shown in her, and imploring her mediation with her Son in our behalf! Christ will not reject the supplications of His mother, whom He was pleased to obey whilst on earth. Her love, care, and tenderness for Him, the title and qualities which she bears, the charity and graces with which she is adorned, and the crown of glory with which she is honored, must incline Him readily to receive her recommendations and petitions.
THE FESTIVAL, ON THE SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF HER NATIVITY, OF THE HOLY NAME OF MARY.
THIS festival was appointed by Pope Innocent XI., that on it the faithful may be called upon in a particular manner to recommend to God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the necessities of His Church, and to return Him thanks for His gracious protection and numberless mercies. What gave occasion to the institution of this feast was a solemn thanksgiving for the relief of Vienna when it was besieged by the Turks in 1683. If we desire to deprecate the divine anger, justly provoked by our sins, with our prayers, we must join the tears of sincere compunction with a perfect conversion of our manners. The first grace we should always beg of God is that He will bring us to the disposition of condign penance. Our supplications for the divine mercies, and our thanksgivings for benefits received, will only thus be rendered acceptable. By no other means can we deserve the blessing of God, or be recommended to it by the patronage of His holy mother. To the invocation of Jesus it is a pious and wholesome practice to join our application to the Blessed Virgin, that, through her intercession, we may more easily and more abundantly obtain the effects of our petitions. In this sense devout souls pronounce, with great affection and confidence, the holy names of Jesus and Mary.