This festival of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary originated in the East where it is mentioned very early. At Rome it was not observed before the reign of Pope Sergius I. As Eve, our first mother, arose from the side of Adam, dazzling with life and innocence, so Mary came forth, bright and immaculate from the heart of the eternal Word Who by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit as the Liturgy teaches us, was pleased to form that body and soul which were to be, one day, His tabernacle and altar. This is the sublime meaning of the feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the dawn foretelling the day which already breaks behind the eternal hills, the mystic rod which rises from the venerable root of Jesse; the stream which springs from Paradise; it is the symbolical fleece which is stretched on our dry earth to catch the miraculous dew. This is the new Eve, that is to say, the life and the Mother of all the living, who is born today for those to whom the first Eve became the mother of sin and death.
There is also a commemoration this day of St Nicomedes who was a holy priest at Rome, apprehended in the persecution of Domitian for his assiduity in assisting the martyrs in their conflicts, and for interring their bodies. Refusing constantly to sacrifice to idols, he was beaten to death with clubs about the year AD90. His tomb was on the road to Nomento, and he is commemorated on this day in the sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great, and in the Martyrologies of St. Jerome, Bede, &c.
Hail, holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King who rules heaven and earth for ever and ever. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word : I speak my works to the King. v. Glory be…etc
Impart unto Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that to us, for whom the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, the votive solemnity of her nativity may give increase of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
For S. Nicomedes Martyr
Stand by Your people, O Lord, that, celebrating the wondrous merits of blessed Nicomedes, Your Martyr, we may obtain mercy through the help of his prayers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
EPISTLE Proverbs 8: 23-35
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom: The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out; the mountains with their huge bulk had not yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, not the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths; when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits; when He balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with Him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times, playing in the world: and my delight is to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.
Thou art blessed and venerable, O Virgin Mary, who with purity unstained was found to be the Mother of our Savior. V. Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world was unable to contain enclosed Himself in thy womb, being made man. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Happy art thou, O sacred Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, for out of thee hath risen the sun of justice, Christ, our God. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 1: 1-16
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac; and Isaac begot Jacob; and Jacob begot Judas, and his brethren; and Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begot Esron; and Esron begot Aram; and Aram begot Aminadab; and Aminadab begot Naasson; and Naasson begot Salmon; and Salmon begot Booz of Rahab; and Booz begot Obed of Ruth; and Obed begot Jesse; and Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her who had been the wife of Urias; and Solomon begot Roboam; and Roboam begot Abia; and Abia begot Asa; and Asa begot Josaphat; and Josaphat begot Joram; and Joram begot Ozias; and Ozfas begot Joatham; and Joatham begot Achaz; and Achaz begot Ezechias; and Ezechias begot Manasses; and Manasses begot Amon; and Amon begot Josias; and Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon. And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel; and Salathiel begot Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begot Abiud; and Abiud begot Eliacim; and Eliacim begot Azor; and Azor begot Sadoc; and Sadoc begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud; and Eliud begot Eleazar; and Eleazar begot Mathan; and Mathan begot Jacob; and Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, Who is called Christ.
Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Creator of all things; Thou broughtest forth Him Who made thee, yet for ever remainest a virgin, alleluia.
Let the humanity of Thine only-begotten Son succor us, O Lord, that He, Who, born of a virgin, did not diminish, but consecrated, the virginity of His mother, may, on this solemn festival of her visitation, deliver us from our sins and make our offering acceptable, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Who with Thee livest and reignest, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
For S. Nicomedes Martyr
Graciously accept, O Lord, the gifts we offer You, and may the prayer of the blessed Martyr, Nicomedes, make them pleasing to Your Majesty. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. That on the Nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary, we should praise, bless and proclaim Thee. For she conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost; and losing not the glory of her virginity, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the Dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly Hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:
Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father..
We have received, O Lord, the votive sacrament of this annual solemnity; grant, beseech Thee, that it may afford us a remedy both for temporal and for eternal life. Through same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
For S. Nicomedes Martyr
May the sacrament we have received purify us, O Lord, and may the intercession of blessed Nicomedes, Your Martyr, cause us to be absolved from all sin. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.