Most Holy Name of Mary

I Corinthians 11.17-26,33; Psalm 39; Luke 7.1-10

In the Divine Praises, the series of responsive ejaculations traditionally recited at the close of the service of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, we are invited to acknowledge the blessedness of the Name of Mary. But in the Old Testament book of Ruth [1.20] we are reminded that this name is a name of sorrow, of bitterness.

The traditional hymn (‘Daily, daily, sing to Mary), attributed to the 12th Century Abbot of Cluny, St Bernard, testifies that ‘All our joys do flow from Mary’. The key is found in the exhortation she gave to incredulous servants at the marriage feast in Cana: ‘Do whatever he tells you’. [John 2.5] The words are redolent of the advice of the Egyptian Pharaoh to his countrymen as the land faced famine: ‘Do what Joseph tells you to do’. [Genesis 41.55] A demand for obedience crosses our wills, and inevitably that feels harsh and unkind to us. [cf Hebrews 12.5-6] Mary’s unexampled trust that whatever was asked of her would eventuate in peace and joy because a heavenly Father intended good for her [cf Luke 1.38] is the model for us. Her holy name of sorrow is the paradoxical sign of God’s blessing on her life. [cf Luke 8.21; 11.27-28] For us, learning from Mary means learning to see the burdens of our lives as the means a Provident God has set out for our sanctification. As we honour her not only in words but in deeds and most of all in our innermost hearts, our names, like hers, themselves become holy.

Posted in Daily Reflection.