Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Salve Sancta Parens!

Only three birthdays are celebrated in the Church's calendar - Christ, John the Fore-runner and the Blessed Virgin. Today, we have cause to rejoice as we celebrate the birth of she who was destined to bear the Saviour of the world. In her, the dawn of salvation has appeared! Much of what we know comes from St Jerome's 'History of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin' which is memorably recounted in Jacobus de Voraigne OP's famous medieval classic, 'The Golden Legend':

"Joachim, a Galilean from the town of Nazareth, took Saint Anna, a native of Bethlehem, as his wife. They were both righteous and walked without reproach in all the commandments of the Lord... They lived for twenty years without offspring and made a vow to the Lord that if he granted them a child, they would dedicate it to the service of God... One day an angel appeared with great brilliance to him when he was alone. He was disturbed by the apparition, but the angel told him not to be afraid and said: 'I am an angel of the Lord, sent to announce to you that your prayers have been heard and your alms have ascended in the sight of the Lord. I have seen how you were to put to shame, and heard the reproach of childlessness wrongly put upon you. God punishes not nature but sin, and therefore, when he closes a woman's womb, he does this in order to open it miraculously later on, and to make it known that what is born is not the fruit of carnal desire but of the divine generosity... So then, your wife will bear you a daughter and you will call her Mary. As you have vowed, she will be consecrated to the Lord from infancy and filled with the Holy Spirit from her mother's womb. She will not live among the common people but will abide in the Temple at all times, lest any sinister suspicion be aroused about her. And, as she will be born of an unfruitful mother, so, miraculously, the Son of the Most High will be born of her. His name will be Jesus, and through him all nations will be saved...' [Anna and Joachim] met [at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem] as the angel had predicted, and were happy to see each other and to be sure they were to have a child. They adored God and went to their home, joyfully awaiting the fulfillment of the divine promise. Anna conceived and brought forth a daughter and they called her name Mary. When she was weaned at the age of three, the parents brought her to the Lord's Temple with offerings... Having made their offering, Joachim and Anna left their daughter in the Temple with the other virgins and went home. Mary advanced steadily in all holiness. Angels visited her everyday, and she enjoyed the vision of God daily."

Whether or not all this happened or even if much of it is the embellishment of pious legend, we can rejoice in Mary's birthday and greet our dearest Mother with songs of praise, Rosaries of prayer and actions of love and humility, in imitation of she who is the "highest honour of our race".

As they would say in the Philippines: "Happy Birthday, Mama Mary! Mabuhay!"


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