Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Birth of Mary and here, in the Diocese of Knoxville, we celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of our diocese!
We know that this feast dates back at least to the early 700’s as at that time Pope Sergius established that four separate feasts honoring Mary should be kept in Rome with one of these being the birth of Mary. This feast of the Birth of Mary is important because in the birth of Mary we see that the promise of God to bring salvation to all peoples and to heal the effects of sin has begun. Mary is the morning star announcing the rising of the Sun! The morning star, it must be noted, shines not with its own glory but rather, it reflects the coming glory of the Sun upon all the earth. Mary shines with and reflects the very light of Christ and his resurrection and triumph!
O do not weep, Mother of God,
beside the Cross of Christ, our Saviour.
Be joyful, for truly he is risen;
in his body there lies hidden
all the ransom
and the salvation
of all people!
Below are some words written by St. Andrew of Crete in regards to today’s feast:
Justly then do we celebrate this mystery since it signifies for us a double grace. We are led toward the truth, and we are led away from our condition of slavery to the letter of the law. How can this be? Darkness yields before the coming of light; and grace exchanges legalism for freedom. But midway between the two stands today’s mystery, at the frontier where types and symbols give way to reality, and the old is replaced by the new.
Therefore, let all creation sing and dance and unite to make worthy contribution to the celebration of this day. Let there be one common festival for saints in heaven and men on earth. Let everything, mundane things and those above, join in festive celebration. Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place for him who made all things. The creature is newly prepared to be a divine dwelling place for the Creator.