The Nativity of the Theotokos

Today (September 8) we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an event which the liturgy calls ‘exordium salutis,’ the dawning of salvation. For just as when we see the rays of dawn appear we know that the sun will soon be shining on us, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin announces the coming of our Saviour, ‘the Sun of Righteousness Who rises with healing in His wings’ (Malachi 4, 2).

This is why she is born. This is why she comes into the world. As St John Damascene expresses it: ‘From all eternity and from before the ages, God chose thee and predestined thee, and, now, last of all called thee into being, to be the Mother of His Son and to give flesh to His Eternal Word.’

People outside Orthodoxy often think that Mary points us away from Jesus. But no! The exact opposite is the case. Mary always, always, always points us to her Divine Son and to the salvation which He brings.