The Holy Name of Mary

And the Virgin’s name, wrote Luke, was Mary. Let us speak of this name for a few moments. It is said to mean “star of the sea,” a name applied most appropriately to the Virgin Mary. She is compared most aptly to a star. As a star emits its rays without loss of its essential nature, so the Virgin Mary without loss of her virginity, brings forth her Son. Neither do the rays lessen the brightness of the star, nor the Son the inviolateness of the Virgin. She is the glorious star which rose out of Jacob, whose rays light up the whole world, whose brilliance gleams in heaven, penetrates to hell. She floods the whole earth with her light, warms minds rather than bodies, fosters virtues, melts away sins. She, I say, is that brilliant shining star lifted in nature above this vast and boundless sea, gleaming with merits, enlightening by her example.

Whoever you are, when you find yourself tossed by storms and tempests upon this world’s raging waters, rather than walking upon firm dry land, never take your eyes from the brightness of this star lest you be overwhelmed by the storm. When the winds of temptation blow, when you run upon the rocks of disaster, look to the star. Cry out to Mary! When anger, avarice, or the lusts of the flesh assail the ship of your mind, look up to Mary. When you are worried by the enormity of your sins, troubled by a confused conscience, or terrified by the horrors of the judgment to come, when you begin to drown in the bottomless pit of sorrow or sink in the abyss of despair, think of Mary.

Uknown Ghentish Master, Lactation of St. Bernard Belgian, c. 1525-1540 Ghent, Museum voor Shone Kunsten

Uknown Ghentish Master, Lactation of St. Bernard, Belgian, c. 1525-1540
Ghent, Museum voor Shone Kunsten

In danger, in difficulties, in doubts, think of Mary. Call upon Mary! Never let her name be absent from your lips or absent from your heart. If you would obtain the help of her prayers, do not neglect to follow the example of her conduct. If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you need not despair. If you think of her, you will not err; sustained by her, you will never fall; protected by her, you need not fear; guided by her, you will walk without weariness. If she smiles upon you, you will succeed. You will experience in your own heart with what justice it is said: And the Virgin’s name was Mary.