Saturday, July 25, 2009
"Let us say a few words on this name, Stella Maris, which means star of the sea, and which is appropriately accorded to the Virgin Mother. Fittingly is she compared to the stars, since just as a star gives light without burning itself out, so the virgin gave birth to her son without stain to herself. As a star’s light does not lessen its own brightness, so neither does the Son lessen the Virgin’s wholeness. She is therefore that noble star rising from Jacob which casts light over the whole world; whose splendour sines to the heavens and reaches down into the deep; which crosses the earth, warming spirits rather than bodies; fostering goodness and purging sins.
And so I say that she is that bright and distinguished star to be raised above this vast ocean, sparkling with merit, shining with character. Whoever you may be, grasp that, as this age runs it’s course, you are tossed on the waves by gales and storms more than you walk upon dry land; do not turn your eyes from the beam of this star if you do not wish to be swamped by the storm! If the winds of temptation engulf you, if you are running onto the rocks of adversity, depend upon the star, call upon Mary. If you are thrown about on the waves of pride or ambition, speaking ill of others or jealousy, depend upon the star, call upon Mary. If anger or greed or the cares of the flesh batter your soul’s boat, depend upon Mary. If you are unsettled by the hideousness of your sins, troubled by a bad conscience, terrified by the horror of the final judgment; if you are beginning to be dragged down into the pit of sadness, into the abyss of despair, reflect upon Mary. In danger, in distress, in doubt, reflect upon Mary, call upon Mary. Let her not leave your lips, let her not leave your heart and do not abandon your dealings with her if you wish to gain the object of your prayer.
Following her, you will not stray; praying to her, you will not despair; reflecting upon her, you will not go wrong. With her taking your hand, you will not fall down; with her protecting you, you will not fear; with her leading you, you will not grow weary; with her favour, you will accomplish; and thus you will learn for yourself how truly it is said: And the Virgin’s name was Mary.
But now, having paused for a moment, let us all who are passing through this life gaze upon the brightness of such a light. For in the words of the Apostle, It is good for us to be here, and it is pleasing to contemplate in silence that which many words fail to explain."
-- In praise of the Virgin Mary by St Bernard of Clairvaux