|Devotion to Our Lady||
After God had created Mary's immaculate soul, He showed it to the choirs of angels in Heaven, and they felt intense joy upon seeing its unique beauty. Then, as Mary's soul was infused into her body, her holy mother St. Anne was filled with the Holy Ghost and experienced an extraordinary devotion and happiness.
One night she felt for the first time a slight tremor from the presence of her daughter in her womb. With profound joy she arose, dressed, and told St. Joachim the happy news, and then both gave thanks to God together. Throughout the rest of her life and especially during the next nine months, she constantly received new graces and enlightenment concerning the great mystery of the Incarnation, and she frequently praised the Lord in canticles of love.
However, in order to increase her merit, God allowed St. Anne to undergo grievous trials during her pregnancy. Although Satan did not know that her daughter was to be the Mother of the Savior, he perceived that a strong spiritual influence proceeded from Anne, and therefore he did his best to tempt and disturb and harm hen. But she resisted all his attacks with humble fortitude, patience and prayer.
Then the enraged Devil tried to make St. Joachim's house to be destroyed, hut Mary's protecting angels prevented such an accident from happening. Next, Satan incited some of St. Anne's women friends to treat her with open scorn and mockery because of her late pregnancy. St. Anne did not permit herself to be upset by this injustice, but in all meekness and humility she bore the insults and acted with still greater kindness toward these women. In the end, as a result of her prayers, they amended their ways.
According to an ancient tradition, the parents of the Blessed Virgin were Joachim and Anne. Nothing historically trustworthy is known about Joachim and Anne, but they must have been persons of superior sanctity, for they have been virtually canonized by the Church. We may rest assured that God would have chosen parents worthy to educate a child of such high destiny and singular holiness. For a long time they were without children. God rewarded their prayers and granted them a daughter. There cannot be the least doubt that Mary was of Davidic lineage, at least through Joachim, and perhaps through Anne as well. The bodily origin of the Messias from David had been predicted by Isaias (11:1). Joachim and Anne named their daughter Miriam, after the valiant sister of Moses.
Since the Annunciation took place in Nazareth and because most of Mary's relatives resided there, she was most probably born in that village, situated in the hill country of southern Galilee. According to tradition, the house, where Mary was born, was located on the site where the Basilica of the Annunciation now stands. This is built over some caves, one of which is venerated as the scene of the Annunciation. Even today Nazareth contains homes consisting of two parts: a small wooden fiat-topped house, fronting the street, and an adjoining cave, hollowed out by human hands, or by nature. A home of this type may well have been the place of Mary's birth.
SALUTATIONS TO OUR MOTHER AND QUEEN
ANTIPHON: Thy Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world; since from thee arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, who, destroying the curse, bestowed the blessing, and confounding death, rewarded us with life everlasting.
V. Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. That she may intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Child, lovable Mary, the Eternal Father delights in thy birth, for He beholds, in thy coming into this world, one of His creatures, who is so perfect that she will become the worthy Mother of His divine Son. May thy birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the heavenly Father, the pardon of my sins, and an abiding sorrow for them.