What’s in That Prayer? The Nativity of Mary, the ‘Beginning of Salvation’

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office of Our Lady’s Nativity:

Fámulis tuis, quǽsumus, Dómine, cæléstis grátiæ munus impertíre: ut, quibus beátæ Vírginis partus éxstitit salútis exórdium; Nativitátis eius votíva solémnitas pacis tríbuat increméntum.

Here is my translation:

We beg Thee, O Lord, to bestow upon your servants the gift of heavenly grace: that the votive solemnity of Her Nativity may grant an increase of peace to those for whom the birth of the blessed Virgin stands out as the beginning of salvation.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

Grant unto us thy servants, we beseech thee, O Lord, the gift of thy heavenly grace, unto whom Thou didst give the first sight of a Saviour as the offspring of a Blessed Virgin, and grant that this Feast, which they keep in honour of the same Virgin, may avail them unto the increase of peace.

Which one of us cannot use a “pacis increméntum” — and increase of peace — in our lives today? A wonderful intention to pray for through the intercession of the Regina Pacis (“Queen of Peace”).

The prayer asks for that particular gift of grace only to those “for whom the birth of the blessed Virgin stands out as the beginning of salvation.” We must see in the Holy Virgin that beginning or else we do not fully believe the doctrine of the Incarnation; we do not fully accept Jesus Christ on His terms. Jesus came to us through Mary and we go to Him through Her. This is not mere pious platitude; it is a deeply rooted truth of our holy Religion.

The sentiment expressed in this oration reminds me of the liturgical hymn which begins, “Mary the dawn, Christ the perfect day.”