What’s your birthday gift to Mary?

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The Church celebrates the Nativity of the Blesed Virgin Mary on Sept. 8 (Photo: CBCPNews)

PASIG City, Sept. 8, 2016 – As the Church celebrates the liturgical feast of the Nativity of Mary today, a priest offered some tips on how to give “Mother Mary”, as many Catholics call her, a truly happy birthday.

“How would you prepare for your mother’s birthday? Have you ever thought how Jesus would have prepared for the birthday of His Mother Mary? We could perhaps do the same for Our Lady,” said Fr. Rolando Arjonillo, of the Prelature of Opus Dei, in an interview with CBCP News.

Flowers for Mary

“I was celebrating Mass in a chapel at the outskirts of Seville in Spain. The altarpiece of the chapel caught my attention. It is a painting showing the young Jesus offering a rose to Our Lady, who was knitting, and with St. Joseph at the background,” recalled the priest.

“The painting inspired me to adopt the May custom of offering flowers as a fitting way of celebrating Mary’s birthday.

“We all know how mothers lovingly appreciate flowers we give them,” added Arjonillo.

Loving gestures

To drive home the point, the theologian and administrator of the Catholics Striving for Holiness website related an episode in the life of St. John Marie Vianney.

“A widow approached Holy Curé of Ars sobbing. To allay her worries, the saint assured her, ‘Woman, your prayer has been heard. Your husband has been saved,’” shared the priest.

As the story goes, the widow could not say anything as she was awed by what she just heard, and the saint continued: ‘Don’t you recall how your husband, a month before his death, asked you to go to the garden to get the most beautiful rose and told you to bring the rose to the altar of the Blessed Virgin?’

“’Our Lady has not forgotten your husband’s loving gesture,’” said St. John Marie Vianney.

Spiritual flowers

To celebrate Holy Mary’s birthday, Arjonillo suggested some ways the faithful can offer flowers to mark the event, not only material ones but “spiritual flowers” as well, by:

  • daily Marian prayers, like the Angelus and Holy Rosary;
  • the struggle to live holy purity; saying “No” to temptation by praying “Blessed be Thy purity” or “Hail Mary” or simply, “Mother, help me!”
  • going to Confession, especially if one hasn’t gone for a long time;
  • offering to Jesus one’s work, study, tiredness, illness, traffic, or any inconvenience with patience and cheerfulness;
  • biting one’s tongue when there is a temptation to say something which could hurt, insult, or defame another person;
  • helping a person in need.

“The ‘spiritual flowers’ for Our Lady need not be something extraordinary,” pointed out Arjonillo.

“As long as they are gestures done out of love and affection, our loving Mother will surely appreciate them!”

“Let us give our daily ‘flowers’ to our Mother Mary, details of affection, to make her happy in celebrating her birthday; honoring her which surely will be pleasing to God,” the priest underlined.
The Catholics Striving for Holiness website (www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com) is intended to help Catholics in their journey towards holiness as well to help more people come closer to God and experience God’s love and mercy. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)

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