Generally we remember saints on the day of their death. We believe that after a saintly life here on earth, they entered eternity on the day of their death. A happy death is that makes a man blessed and the Bible warns us not to call anybody blessed until the moment of death.
But Mary belonged to a different class. She was blessed in life too. ‘Blessed are you among women……’ (Lk 1:42) was the exclamation of Elizabeth. Mary herself had no doubt that she was a blessed person. ‘Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed’ (Lk 1:48). Mary was the masterpiece of God the Father, says Louis de Monfort. Sr Maria of Agreda describes in her famous treatise ‘Mystical City of God’, the manner in which God conceived the creation of a woman for giving birth to his son and how the Most High adorned her with all the graces necessary to fulfill the most important task ever given to a human being, that of giving birth to Jesus the God Man.
According to Sr Maria, when God revealed his plans for the redemption of mankind through Jesus and commanded that everything in the universe will be placed under the authority of his son, the fallen angels led by Lucifer had no other way than submitting to the divine will. Afterall, Jesus was himself God and Satan found no reason except his pride that would prevent him from submitting to the authority of Jesus. But when God stated that he was going to create a woman to be the mother of Jesus and that this woman would be free from the stains of all sins and that even angels will be inferior in status to her, Lucifer revolted by questioning its logic. How can God create someone who is superior to angels, of whom, though fallen, he was one? From that moment onwards, he nursed a horrific hatred against the Mother of God. With God’s declaration of an everlasting enmity between the devil and Mary, all diabolic forces joined together to attack Mary, and it continues even today. But God, in his infinite wisdom, preserved Mary from all the snares of the devil, though she was permitted to be tempted like any other human being. This permission was more precious to Satan than the permission to tempt all other human beings. Such was the extent of his hatred towards this special woman.
Mary was special, her birth was special and the virtues that adorned her were also special. We mortals can but wonder how such a person ever lived on this earth. For us, the time between our birth and death is the period to be used to secure a place in eternity in the fellowship of saints and angels. For Mary, conceived without sin, her destiny was but a natural progression from birth to life and then to death. When we call her ‘queen of angels’ we know that she was created to be their queen.
Apart from Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist are the other persons who are celebrated on the day of their birth. John the Baptist was sanctified in his mother’s womb. As the Scripture testifies, Mary was instrumental in John getting this anointing, because it was with her greeting that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. As for Mary, her birth heralded the new dawn of redemption through her son. She is indeed the ‘Morning Star’ who was born in heaven, lived on earth and returned to heaven.