September 8: The Birth of Humanity’s Sole Boast

The Virgin

  Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost

With the least shade of thought to sin allied;  

Woman! above all women glorified,  

Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;  

Purer than foam on central ocean tost;  

Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn  

With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon

 Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;  

Thy Image falls to earth.

Yet some, I ween,

 Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,  

As to a visible Power, in which did blend  

All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee

 Of mother’s love with maiden purity,  

Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

William Wordsworth

“And the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk 1:27). Let us also say a few words about  this name, which means “star of the sea” and is most suitably fitting for a  virgin mother. For she is most appropriately compared to a star, because, just  as a star emits its rays without being corrupted, so the Virgin gave birth to  her Son without any injury to her virginity. When the star emits its rays, this  does not make it less bright, and neither does the Son diminish his Mother’s  virginal integrity. She, therefore, is that noble star risen from Jacob, whose  ray gives light to the whole world, whose brightness both shines forth in the  heavens and penetrates the depths. It lights up the earth and warms the spirit  more than the body; it fosters virtues and dries up vices. Mary, I say, is the  distinguished and bright shining star, necessarily lifted up above this great  broad sea, gleaming with merits, giving light by her example.

Oh, if any of you recognizes that he is caught between storms and tempests,  tossed about in the flood of this world, instead of walking on dry land, keep  your eyes fixed on the glow of this star, unless you want to perish, overwhelmed  by the tempest!

If the winds of temptations surge, if you run aground on the shoals of troubles,  look to this star, call upon Mary!

If you are tossed by the winds of pride or ambition or detraction or jealousy,  look to this star, call upon Mary!

If anger or greed or the allurements of the flesh dash against the boat of your  mind, look to Mary!

And if you are troubled by the enormity of your sins, confused by the foulness  of your conscience, terrified by the horror of the Judgment, so that you begin  to be swallowed up by the pit of sadness, the abyss of despair, think of Mary!

In dangers, in straits, in perplexity, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her  name be always in your mouth and in your heart, and, if you would ask for and  obtain the help of her prayers, do not forget the example of how she lived.

If you follow her, you will not go astray. If you pray to her, you will not  despair. If you think of her, you will not be lost. If you cling to her, you  will not fall. If she protects you, you will not fear; if she is your guide, you  will not tire; if she is favorable to you, you will reach your goal. Thus you  will experience personally how rightly it was spoken: “And the Virgin’s name was  Mary.”

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux



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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Excellent!

    In a sense Her birthday is ours as well. Her Annunciation, yes to God, is another birthday of sorts.
    For she, a humble little girl of 15 or so, has taken on the beast and with her Child secured freedom from death for countless children of hers.

    Can you imagine the fury of Satan, beaten by the innocence of a young virgin.

    Hail Mary and a Blessed birthday.

    – a knight of the Immaculata.

  2. Great post Don.
    It is good to be reminded of the beauty of many of the hymns in Latin that we have discarded. I used to sing this hymn back in the late 1950’s when I was in the choir at my alma mater, Sacred heart College in Auckland, and the odd occasion in the decade following. But since then we have dumped much of the beauty that was “the Church” back in those days. WHY ???

  3. (Hit the wrong button 🙁 )
    We need to re-discover and reclaim this beauty – both in music and in art. Thank you for the constant reminders with these posts, that re-enliven our vigour in Faith, so that we too can act to help the revival of the artistic beauty which really does give us a glimpse of the wonder and beauty of our God.

  4. Saint Anne and Joachim must have been the most faithful of parents to be blessed with the Virgin Mary, immaculate from the first moment of her conception. The Virginity of the Blessed Mother will crush the head of Satan.

  5. It is thought to be a similar “miracle” conception not unlike that of Sarah and Abraham’s….and Elizabeth and Zachariah’s. Elder first time parents.

    Again. With God all things are possible.

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