_"All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emman′u-el (which means, God with us)." (Matthew 1:22-23)_

_*Today the universal Church celebrates the feast of the nativity or birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have only three nativities celebrated in the cycle of the Churh, the birth of Jesus, John the Baptist and that of Mary the mother of Jesus. It is a special one because her birth was special too since she was given a mission from the Lord even before she was born as we see in the first reading and other old testament scriptural narratives.(Isaiah 7:14)*_

_The birth of a child truly brings joy in the heart. A woman carries a baby for nine months in her womb, goes through the contraction and labour pain and other challenges and complications that sometimes comes with child bearing and finally gives birth. You notice a change on the face of the mother from pain to joy. The joy of the birth wipes away in a split of seconds all that she has to bear from the moment of conception to delivery._

_*Every birth is unique and special, but that of the Blessed Virgin Mary is extraordinarily magnificent, because she was born to be the mother of Jesus. It was a choice made by God and she was preserved from anything that could make her not to qualify for the mission by way of original sin. When she was of age and at the appointed time, an angel of the Lord came knocking to deliver the Good news and she simply said yes to God and that was all that was needed for Jesus to come through her and save the world from the grip of sin and death.*_

_We are celebrating the birth of a noble woman and lady who came from a beautiful family and of noble and humble parents Joachim and Anne. We are celebrating a humble and wonderful lady who is beautiful in and out. She was brought up to fear God, love Him and care for others. She was a virgin who sacrificed everything about her in order to let God's will be done._

_*We are celebrating a quintessential mother who gave birth to Jesus, nurtured Him and stood by Him from birth to death and today is also staying close with Him in heaven as the queen of heaven and earth.*_

_Her mission at birth was simple but very demanding. She said yes to God, but that Yes came with a lot of responsibilities that will make her to continually give up what she wants to let God's will be done in her life._

_*Mary has become a model for us in all ramifications. In humility, patience, kindness, compassion, endurance, holiness, faithfulness, prayerfulness, love, empathy, motherly care, selflessness, noble and good parenting, charity, obedience, magnanimity e.t.c If we draw close to her heart and learn from her, we shall receive grace to keep doing our best in fulfilling the purpose of why we are here on earth, because we also have a mission from God as her by virtue of our birth. The question is, are you really focused and striving everyday to actualise the goal of your birth? Mary has become an example for us and we must value her person, seek her efficacious maternal intercession always, honour her by praying the Rosary always and living an exemplary life and constantly represent God well so that at our death we shall be with her in God's kingdom to glorify God forever.*_

_In the gospel pericope of today we are presented with the genealogy of Christ and the root from where he came. Our mother Mary was in the picture, because God chose her for the role and she did not disappoint. The first reading also talks about her and how the small town of Bethlehem became a place where the king of kings will be born. It does not matter where you where born, but what you do with your life matters a lot. Let us rejoice on this birthday of the Virgin Mary and learn also to constantly remain loyal to God our creator so that He will use us as He wills._

_*Good morning dearest one. Smile😊as you do your work and do have a beautiful day. May the heart of Mother Mary continue to intercede for us as we honour her. Amen. And may the Almighty God bless you: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.*_

*Meditation:* Micah 5:2-5/Psalm 13:6-7/Matthew 1:1-16,18-23

*Watch-Word:* A Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Enmanuel

*God gave us the gift of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we must love her, honour her and learn from her to serve God well herecon earth*

(Thursday of the twenty-third week in the ordinary time. Feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.)

*Happy birthday Mama Mary!!!*

*© Rev. Fr. Augustine Eleke*