Birthdays are times of celebration in which we bring gifts to the “celebrated one.” The two most important birthdays in the history of the world are Jesus, the Son of the living God that each year we celebrate on December 25. The second most important person that came into the world is the Mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church and our Mother in the order of grace. The day that we celebrate Mary’s birthday is less known—it is September 8th.   This is exactly nine months after we celebrate Mary’s Immaculate Conception—December 8th.

Therefore to show our love, gratitude, respect and the highest honor to Mary we would all like to give hers some Birthday gifts; there are many that we could give to our Heavenly Mother, but let us mention just five.

1.    OUR SENSES.  Let us give to Our Lady our senses so that they would be used to glorify God in all times and places.  Our eyes so that with Mary we might contemplate the beauty of God in natures, persons, places and circumstances. Our ears so that we might be always attentive to listening to the Word of God that is spoken to us in so many different ways. Our tongue, so that we might, like Mary, proclaim the greatness of the Lord and praise God as Saint Ignatius teaches us. Let us offer out tongue that we might taste and see the goodness of the Lord—that we might have a taste and hunger for Jesus, the Bread of Life every time we receive Holy Communion. Finally, our smell that we might sense the good and be attracted by it and that we might be, in imitation of Mary, the sweet fragrance of Christ.

2.    OUR TIME- past, present and future.  Let us give all of the time that God has given to us to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  With respect to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy and the merciful heart of Mary; the future, let us entrust all the years, months, days, and hours to Divine Providence and Our Lady’s loving guidance and protection. Finally, the present, let us live intensely the present moment—that is all we really have. St. Catherine of Siena comments:  “The two most important moments of our lives are now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

3.    FEARS, DOUBTS AND ANXIETIES.  In a world filled with so many fears, doubts, confusion, tensions, war and strife, where can we turn? Why not place all of the fears and anxieties bottled up in your heart and deposit them in the depths of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Remember the prayer of Saint Bernard:  “Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to your help was left unaided.” In the midst of fear and confusion Our Lady stands out as a shining beacon, a shine star—the Stella Maris—the star of the Sea to guide us safely to the port of salvation.

4.    TEMPTATIONS AND SINS.  Why not say it!  Let us run to Mary in the midst of our temptations. Life indeed is a battle field! And if it does happen that we fall into sin, let us turn to Our Lady of Mercy who will lift our eyes to Jesus, the King of Mercy and God the Father always ready to receive the Prodigal Son or daughter into His loving embrace. (Lk. 15—Parable of the Prodigal Son)  A Mother always loves her child, but especially when the child has fallen into the mud or fallen off the bike and scraped his/her knee and sees in bleeding. Jesus and Mary do not love us less when we sin. They love us so much that they want to embrace us in Mercy.

5.    PRAYERS/ROSARIES/CONSTANT CONVERSATION.  What Mary ardently desires from her children are prayers.  Prayer is simply talking to God, the angels, the saints and to Our Lady. At Fatima Our Lady six times told the children—Jacinta. Francisco and Lucia—to pray the most Holy Rosary. Saint Pope John Paul II insisted that the Rosary be prayed, especially in the family, for world peace as well as for the salvation of the family. Evert time we say the Hail Mary it is as if we were saying “Mary I love you.” Our Lady never gets tired of hearing over and over again the HAIL MARY!

In conclusion, let us wish Our Lady a very happy birthday by offering her five special gifts: 1) Let us consecrate our senses to Mary; 2)Let us give our time to Mary—past, present and future; 3) Let us cast our fears and doubts and worries in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a refuge solid and secure; 4) Let us even give Mary our moral struggles and failures; 5) Finally, let us generously and constantly give Our Lady our prayers and especially our HAIL MARYS and Rosaries. Happy Birthday Mary! Receive our humble gifts!