The nativity of Mary puts an end to the prolonged sorrow of her parents, Joachim and Anne, who waited many long and brokenhearted years for the birth of a child. As St. Gregory Palamas (+1359) explains: Why did Mary come from a barren womb? In order to put an end to her parents’ sorrow, transform their disgrace, and prefigure that deliverance from the grief and curse of the Forefathers of the human race, which was to come about through her. Let us strive to change our inner thoughts for the better, having as our helper, through invoking her name, the Virgin who was today bestowed upon her parents. She transformed their sorrow, annulled the ancestral curse, and brought our first mother’s pangs to an end painlessly bearing Christ as a Virgin. Mary’s is a birthday to remember because the answer to our sorrow, misery, malice, loneliness, inability, and strife is to be born of Mary. When Mary is born, says St. Andrew of Crete (+740), “we are led toward the truth, and we are led away from our condition of slavery.… How can this be? Darkness yields before the coming of the light.” St. John Vianney extols Mary: “Your birth, O Blessed Virgin Mary, fills the whole world with a sweet consolation and a holy joy, because of you was born our Jesus, our God, who has taken away from us the curse in which we were plunged by the sin of our first parents, and filled us with all kinds of blessings.” And that is why we are eager to know, and to return in the liturgy, to the moment of Mary’s birth: so that we can participate totally in the mystery whereby the possibility of our happiness and salvation is born of a woman.
- Fr. Peter Cameron O.P. Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living Our Lady's Graces