Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Holy Name of Mary...

National Day of Prayer: Memorial of
the Holy Name of Mary

Queen Mary, Mother of God, Christ, Jesus. Our loving Mother

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has declared today, the Memorial of the Holy Name of Mary, as a National Day of Prayer. The combination of popular devotion to Mary and calling Catholics to pray for peace and justice throughout the land is an unusual, if understandable, combination. Since the Holy Name of Mary recalls the Blessed Virgin’s role in God’s plan for the birth of Jesus, Catholics will recognize the value of prayer, regardless of their political persuasion.

The veneration of the name of Mary is a reflection of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. That devotion grew in the late Middle Ages as a populist movement that reminded Christians in neighboring city-states and regions not to wage war against their fellow Christians. St. Bernadine of Sienna and John of Capistrano succeeded in popularizing devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus during the fifteenth century. They worked hard to prevent Christians from being drawn into petty wars, hatred, and bigotry. Today’s feast of the Holy Name of Mary developed in Spain early in the sixteenth century. Later in 1683, Pope Innocent XI extended the feast to the wider church.

In a nation divided by political rivalries, it is difficult to believe that peace and unity are possible. Perhaps this religious occasion will awaken in Marian devotees the hope that peace, truth, justice, and love are still possible. Catholics believe that Mama Mary is their intercessor before the throne of God; hence, the many titles, litanies, and devotions to the Virgin Mary. Perhaps today’s observance will lead Marian devotees to storm heaven with their prayers for peace and national reconciliation.

Today is a Feast that is not on all the Catholic Calendars published but it is celebrated in some places. It is a lovely reminder of how sweet it is to call on our Mother Mary, each time we pray, "Hail Mary".

May we think of her often today, may we pray to console her Immaculate Heart which is one with His Sacred Heart. I was reading an excerpt from an address given by Pope John Paul II on this:

The suffering of this mysterious new Daughter of Sion, Mary, is a result of the innumerable sins of all Adam's children, sins that have caused our expulsion from Paradise.
In Mary, therefore, in a unique way, there is revealed the salvific mystery of suffering, and the fullness of human solidarity. Because the Virgin did not suffer for herself, being All Beautiful, the ever Immaculate One: she suffered for us, in so far as she is the Mother of all. Just as Christ "bore our infirmities and endured our sufferings" (Is 53:4) so also Mary was weighed down as by the sufferings of childbirth through an immense motherhood that makes us reborn to God. The suffering of Mary, the new Eve, alongside the new Adam, Christ, was and still is the royal path to the reconciliation of the world.

This quote was part of an article entitled "The Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Theology and Practise of Reparation by Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins.

May this day be a blessing for all of us, and by God's Grace also a day in which we may learn to love in union with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Joachim, Anne and Mary as a child.

Mary is an example for us in our lives. There are occasions when we have to accept difficulties, sometimes hardships, sometimes sorrow; often we must put ourselves second, sometimes third, for the sake of others and in giving our own ‘yes’ to God.

Lord, today, I may be called on to forget myself for the sake of others. Give me a joyful courage on these occasions rather than self pity.

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