"Rejoice O Virgin Mary;rejoice a thousand times!" St. Louis de Montfort
Each year on September 8th Roses for Our Lady honors the Birth of the Blessed Mother with a Mass and outdoor Eucharistic Rosary procession by candlelight. It is my deepest prayer that all of those who participate in this event will be drawn ever more deeply into love with the Blessed Mother and her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps she didn’t realize it at the time, but when St. Anne conceived her daughter, Mary, she was given a tremendous honor, for who else could be considered worthy to bear the immaculately conceived Mother of God within her own womb and to lovingly raise her, the woman who would become Mother of us all. The spirit of Mary’s birth is lovingly recounted in the poem First in Our Lady’s Service by Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, SP in which he honors St. Anne as the one “who gave unto our Lady what only mothers can.” Mary’s life was brought forth from the womb of St. Anne with one purpose, to bear the Son of God and raise Him in His human form as He prepared to reveal His divinity to the world.
Each year on September 8th, we rejoice with St. Anne as the Church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the Blessed Mother’s Birthday is not celebrated with cake and candles alone, like any other birthday. We honor her instead with the greatest gift a child can offer to their Mother, the gift of prayer.
Roses for Our Lady has a tradition of honoring Mary by loving her Son. On the occasion of her birth we celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass with our hearts completely lifted to heaven in joyous praise. Then we light candles, not those on a birthday cake meant to be blown out with good wishes, but blessed candles, meant to be carried in our hands as witness to the Light of the World. We carry those lights out into the city streets as we clasp the Blessed Mother by the hand through our beaded rosaries. She holds us close to her heart as we repeat the Aves while contemplating the life of her Son.
As we carry our love for the Blessed Mother and her Beloved Son out into the world, our procession becomes a path for the very Son of God, the Bread of Life, to be lifted up in splendor in the Holy Eucharist encased in a monstrance of gold, and devoutly carried in the arms of the priest wrapped in humeral veil.
We join St. Anne in offering our own humble gifts to the Blessed Mother. To quote Fr. Fitzgerald’s poem once again:
There is no saint in heaven,
nor angel who dwells there,
but holds a precious privilege,
a privilege most rare,
to do the very littlest thing
for Mary, Queen most fair.
These things we do to honor our Blessed Mother on the anniversary of her birth may seem so little and small, but we can be sure that they bring great joy to her heart, for the holy Mother of God is most honored when we praise and worship her Beloved Son.