Saturday, September 12, 2009

Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary

"'And the Virgin's name was Mary.' Let us say a few things about this name which, when interpreted, is called 'star of the sea,' and is admirably suitable to the Virgin Mother. She is, in fact,  very appropriately compared to a star without any loss to itself shoots forth its ray, so the Virgin, too, without injury to her virginity gave birth to her Son. And as the ray from the star does not diminish its brilliance, neither did the Son lessen the integrity of His Mother.
  She is, then, that noble star sprung forth from Jacob, whose ray brightens the whole world, whose splendors both shine in heaven and penetrate into hell; spreading, likewise, over the earth and  warming both minds and bodies, it fosters virtue, and purifies from vice. She, I say, is a glorious and most wonderful star, of necessity raised above this great and broad sea, glittering with her merit, and giving light by her example.
  O you, who realize that in the rushing tide of this world you are bobbing about amid storms and tempests rather than walking on land, turn not your eyes away from the light of this star if you  do not wish to be lost in the storm. If the winds of temptations blow up, if you are running over mountains of tribulations, look up to this star; call on Mary! If you are being tossed about on the waves of pride, of ambition, of detraction, of envy, look up to this star; call on Mary! If wrath or avarice or the snare of the flesh shall strike against the ship of the mind, look up to Mary! If, when overwhelmed by the immensity of your crimes, when ashamed by the ugliness of your conscience, when frightened by horror for the Judgment, you begin to sink into the depths of sorrow, into the abyss of despair, think of Mary!
 In dangers, in trials, in matters of doubt, think of Mary; call on Mary! let her not depart from your mouth; let her not leave your heart, and, that you may gain the help of her prayer, do not forsake the example of her life. In following her, you will not stray; praying to her, you will not despair; when thinking of her, you will not be in error. If she holds you, you will not fall; in her protection, you will have no fear; with her as your leader, you will not faint in the way; through her kindness, you will arrive at port; and then you will realize yourself how deservedly it was declared: 'And the Virgin's name was Mary.'

-- From a sermon by St Bernard of Clairvaux

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