A blessed and joyful birthday to Mary, the Mother of God, and co-Redemptrix of the human race. This feast, nine months after the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, has its origins likely in Syria-Palestine in the 6th century, soon after the definitive decree declaring Mary to be Theotokos, the true ‘Bearer of God’, in His human nature, at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
Josef Ratzinger, in his liturgical works, emphasizes the historical, concrete, incarnational dimension of Catholicism and its liturgy. We celebrate with great joy the works of God, as He brings about our salvation within time with the free cooperation of His creatures, when and how He decides,. Anna and Joachim, the parents of Mary, corresponded patiently with the grace of God, and their child even more so, the vessel ‘full of grace’, whose fiat allowed the Saviour of the World to become incarnate with her womb. God waited upon her word, as He does to this day.
Hence, our devotion to the Virgin should be great indeed. Ask of her what you will, offer her some little present, a decade of the Rosary, a Memorare, and who knows what surprise you may get. Like the fictional hobbits, I am rather confident that Our Lady will give far greater presents on her birthday than any we could offer her.