Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 12th is the Feast Day of The Most Holy Name of Mary

After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in Jeaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.

The promises of help made by Jesus Christ to those who have devotion to the name of Mary can console and help us very much ; for one day in the hearing of St. Bridget, He promised His Most Holy Mother that He would grant three special graces to those who invoke that holy name with confidence: first, that He would grant them perfect sorrow for their sins; secondly, that their crimes should be atoned for; and, thirdly, that He would give them strength to attain perfection, and at length the glory of paradise. And then our Divine Savior added: "For thy words, O My Mother, are so sweet and agreeable to Me, that I cannot deny what thou askest."

In every danger of forfeiting divine grace, we should think of Mary, and invoke her name, together with that of Jesus; for these two names always go together. O, then, never let us permit these two most sweet names to leave our hearts, or be off our lips; for they will give us strength not only not to yield, but to conquer all our temptations.

"The invocation of the sacred names of Jesus and Mary," says Thomas a Kempis, "is a short prayer which is as sweet to the mind, and as powerful to protect those who use it against the enemies of their salvation, as it is easy to remember."

A balanced view of salvation history will grant to the Blessed Virgin Her proper place in both the Incarnation of the Second Divine Person and in the Kingdom won by Him on Calvary. Therefore, She is venerated with thanksgiving as both the one who, in union with the Blessed Trinity, gave Jesus to the world, and as the one who stood by Him during His Passion, uniting Her "Com-Passion" to His Salvific Passion for the restoration of fallen mankind to the friendship of God.

It was prophesied in Eden that the Mother of Christ would be given a share in the work of the One Mediator and, because of this, a unique share in His glory. As had been prophesied by Simeon in the Temple, the soul of the Co-Redemptrix was pierced beneath the Cross on Calvary. The Mother of the Church, who experienced no physical labor pains during the birth of the Incarnate God at Bethlehem, did undergo unimaginable spiritual 'labor pains' as Her Son hung on the Cross, dying the cruelest death imaginable. And God, in His wisdom, has decreed that these sufferings of Mary count for something, and something indescribably precious, in the economy of salvation. They were not the sufferings which redeemed humanity, like those of Jesus. They were not needed in order to augment or complete the superabundant Sacrifice of Jesus, which alone could and did atone for all the sins of the world. Yet, God decreed that Our Lady unite Her Sufferings to those of Jesus, the Woman of Genesis standing beside Her Seed during the restoration of the world.

Our Lady did this-----suffered as She did-----for us, for the spiritual progeny bequeathed to Her by Jesus in the person of St. John: "Woman, behold Thy son!" Therefore, we truly are brethren of Jesus, "the rest of Her seed:" "And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under Her feet, and on Her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, She cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered . . . And She brought forth a man Child, Who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and Her son was taken up to God, and to His throne . . . And the dragon was angry against the Woman: and went to make war with the rest of Her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." [Apoc, 1-2, 5,17]

The Woman prophesied in Eden . . . The Virgin prophesied by Isaias . . . The Beautiful One of the Canticles . . . When the time had finally come, the world knew Her name at last: "And the Virgin's name was Mary." This woman uniquely honored with the title, Co-Redemptrix, was rewarded by Her Lord and Redeemer with a queenly crown in His Kingdom . . . and with the role of Mediatrix of All Graces, to dispense those graces which had cost Her Son so dearly on the Cross.

And so, we call out to this Mother and Queen in confidence: Ave Maria . . . Salve Regina . . . Ave Maris Stella . . . Ave Regina Caelorum. Because of this, we honor, respect and set aside in our hearts a special place for Her Holy Name, "Mary," for it was the beacon of our redemption. During the nine months that Jesus rested in His Mother's womb, no one encountered Christ except through Mary, as did the infant St. John the Baptist in the womb of St. Elizabeth. Men and women still, and always will, go to Jesus through Mary:

"Considering things as they are, because God has decided to begin and accomplish His greatest works through the Blessed Virgin ever since He created Her, we can safely believe that He will not change His plan in the time to come, for He is God and therefore does not change in His thoughts or His way of acting." [True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin]

Mary, the daughter of Joachim and Anne . . . She is not a goddess, not a mythological warrior-queen, not a curious, elusive character recalled through the mists of antiquity. She is a person, a uniquely blessed and honored individual, but a person still. "When you approach the time for reading about Mary Immaculate," wrote St. Maximilian Kolbe [+1941], "always remember that you are entering into contact with a living, loving person." No wonder, then, that Catholics [members of Christ's Mystical Body and, therefore, the "rest" of Mary's seed] should hold their Blessed Mother's name in such esteem. It reminds us of God's goodness, of His mercy and generosity to struggling mankind:

"The name of Mary is a name of salvation for those who are regenerated; it is the insignia of virtue, the honor of chastity, the sacrifice agreeable to God, the virtue of hospitality, the school of sanctity, a name altogether maternal." [St. Peter Chrysologus +450]

Of course, in a proper understanding of doctrine and Scripture, such a declaration will not be misinterpreted as any contradiction to the words of St. Paul concerning Our Lord and His sacred Name:

"For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." [Phil. 2: 9-11]

St. Peter Chrysologus did not say that the name of Mary is a "name of salvation." He wrote that "the name of Mary is a name of salvation for those who are regenerated." A person who wishes to follow Christ, yet denies the Mother given to him by Jesus on Calvary, is fooling himself. Through the inspired Gospels, Our Lady has been presented to the world as Advocate and Mediatrix [in the Visitation and Wedding at Cana episodes], and as Spiritual Mother [on Calvary]. Because there are no empty shows or meaningless displays with God, then we are bound to understand Mary's advocacy and spiritual maternity as active, vital components in the life of the soul, for it is the good of souls that moved God to ordain the Incarnation:

"For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting [Jn. 3: 16] . . .
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." [Lk. 19: 10]

The Blessed Virgin, then is a Divine bestowal, a gift bequeathed to the Church by Her dying Savior. And Her name? Her name will become more than a name It will be a sign of Our Lord's solicitude, a pledge of His love . . . and a prayer unto itself:

"We scarce remember now that once this name was spoken softly in a time before the Aves rang. Perhaps across some threshold it was said, so casually, by one who called to Her, 'Mary.' Then, She might have turned and come, obedient from where the children played together in the dusk: and no one knew that more was said than just a young girl's name." [Fr. John W. Lynch, A Woman Wrapped in Silence]

The Introit for the Mass of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, taken from Psalm 44, is an eloquent testimony to the reason we celebrate this beautiful name:

"All the rich among the people shall entreat Thy countenance: after Her shall virgins be brought to the King: Her neighbors shall be brought to Thee in gladness and rejoicing . . . My heart hath uttered a good word: I will speak my works to the King."

We are presented to Christ by His Mother. She presents our needs and petitions to Him; She is the instrument of His mercy and of the disposition of the "Treasury of Grace" won by Him for us on Calvary; She consoles our hearts and through Her maternal care, imparts to Her children whatever peace or happiness we can know in this vale of tears-----nothing less than the peace of Christ. We may struggle to maintain this peace in our bruised and weary hearts, but Our Lady is always ready and eager to share it with us again and again. Yes, the name of Mary, this brief, simple name, speaks volumes to us. "There is hidden in that Divine name [of Mary] a spell so potent," wrote Abbé Orsini, "and of such marvelous sweetness, that merely to pronounce it softens the heart, merely to write it beautifies the style." St. Bonaventure declared the the name of Mary "cannot be pronounced without bringing some grace to him who does so devoutly."

Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ , in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen

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O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to thee, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through thy immaculate hands.

Since thou look with special kindness on those who wear thy Scapular, I implore thee to strengthen my weakness with thy power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, and to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to thee.

May thy Holy Scapular bring me thy special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to thy Divine Son and to thee. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate thy virtues.

From now on, I shall strive to live in God's Presence, and offer all to Jesus through thee. Dearest Holy Mother, support me by thy never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and thy own intercession. Amen.


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