Scripture: Lectionary: MBVM 21. Sept.12 Feast of Holy Name of Mary. Sirach 24:17-21. Resp. Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. Luke 1:26-38:
The readings for this feast of the Holy Name of Mary are taken from the Collection of the Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, number 21. There are 46 such Masses under various roles of the Blessed Virgin. They are usually used and encouraged to be used on Saturdays in Ordinary Time or at shrines dedicated to Mary. This enables the participants to grow in appreciation of who Mary is and how the Liturgy is one of the best ways to learn about her through the selection of many and varied readings from boththe Old Testament, the Psalms, and the passages of the New Testament where she is mentioned.
I enjoy doing this on her feasts and always select one of the masses from this collection on a Saturday for the Eucharist and celebration of God’s word. I feel very blessed and very happy and energetic on these feasts of Mary which seem to better for me than other days. I have always had a great love for Mary and the Society of Mary has deepened and broadened this love through prayer, study, and celebrations. This particular feast of the Blessed Virgin is our patronal feast since we are called the Society of Mary and it is in her name that we embrace the vowed religious life through poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. The last vow, stability, is both a dedication to our spiritual mother and a call to assist her in her mission of bringing Jesus every day into the world. The Incarnation began all of this central role of Jesus in our salvation history and the plan of God (John 1:14; Galatians 4:4-5). We have several expressions from the New Testament that help us focus on the role of Mary in our lives. At Cana we hear her saying to us, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.” We also have the motto “Be strong in faith” (Fortes in Fide) and the cor una et anima una from the Acts of the Apostles. We see Mary gathered with the first assembly of believers including the apostles in the upper room in Jerusalem or Mount Zion. Mary is seen as a Daughter of Zion. She is Jewish all the way through her life and is honored in the Qur’an over forty times and also mentioned in every Gospel of the New Testament and in Galatians, Acts, and Revelation 12.
Today I want to reread chapter one of our Rule of Life and meditate on it. It gives us a beautiful section on Mary from her beginnings to her glorious assumption and crowning in heaven. This is implied in the texts that were written in 1981 at the General Chapter in Linz, Austria. In fact, her presence is in all of the chapters of Book One of the Rule of Life and thus gives us great motivation to live out our life entirely in union with her.
The feast is celebrated by all of the participants of the Marianist Family both lay and religious. It as a patronal feast belongs to all in this Family of God formed at the Incarnation and confirmed at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25-28a). We see Mary as the first disciple of the Lord and as our Leader, hence, another motto “Maria Duce” that is, Mary as Leader. We are dedicated to making her better known, loved, and served. We never adore her or give her a rank among the persons of the Trinity. She is totally human and it from her flesh and blood that the Son of God became man for our salvation. We do not rely simply on Scripture for knowledge of her, but on Tradition, History, and the teachings of the Church (Magisterium). We see the doctrinal statements about her as confirming what is explicit in some Scriptures and implicit in others.
Our founder tells us “You are all missionaries of Mary” and we are willing to go wherever we are sent by her and our leaders. We know she is more than a disciple of Jesus; she is his mother, his teacher; she is called woman, virgin, and disciple for she has all the characteristics of a disciple. She is his first and most faithful disciple “from the cradle to the grave.” I see her as fulfilling all of the beatitudes and that is why she is called “Blessed Virgin Mary.” She is the happy and blessed woman who shows us the beatitudes in action.
I am glad the Gospel of Luke was chosen for this feast for it is very clear that Luke says, “and the Virgin’s name was MARY.” (Luke 1: 27). Luke gives us this most important passage of Mary as a powerful Scriptural claim to her greatness which paradoxically is seen in her simplicity and humility that we hear in her Magnificat. Luke is the first evangelist to have her speak!
In John the word “there” becomes a sign of her presence at the beginning of Jesus ministry and the end of his life at the foot of the Cross. Mary was there at both events. Her presence is felt by her daughters and sons in the Marianist Family. The vow of stability was seen as zeal in the beginning and this gives a charge to our apostolic mission under the guidance and auspices of Mary. She conceived Jesus first through her heart filled with trust and faith in God; then she gave her Son to us for our joy, peace, and salvation. Her cousin Elizabeth was divinely inspired to tell her she is blessed among women for having believed the word that Lord spoke to her thus confirming her role in the history of God’s plan for our happiness and salvation. Her own consent to the angel’s invitation to give God the gift of a newborn male child came about because of her response, her “fiat” ( may it be done to me according to your word).
Mary is seen in Proverbs 8 and also in our selection from Sirach, our first reading as Wisdom (Sophia). I like the lines that say, “Whoever eats of me will hunger still, whoever drinks of me will thirst for more; whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, whoever serves me will never fail.” (Sirach 24:20-21).
I end with citing the articles of the Rule of Life that show how we Marianists in all of our branches both lay and religious look upon this most blessed woman:
Article 5: By the gift of faith, the Virgin Mary opened herself to the mission the Father gave her in his plan of salvation. Jesus was formed in her by the Holy Spirit. He willed her to be the promised Woman, sharing in all his mysteries. When his hour had come, he proclaimed her our Mother.
Article 6: Like the beloved disciple, we accept Mary as a precious gift from God. Moved by Jesus’ love for his Mother we dedicate ourselves to her so that the Holy Spirit, in whose action she cooperates with a mother’s love, may form us more fully to the image of her Son. By our alliance with Mary, we seek to assist her in her mission of forming in faith a multitude of brothers for her first –born Son.
Article 7: In Mary is summed up the longing and searching of the whole human race for God: she is the first among those who believe in Jesus Christ and the first to be saved from evil and death.
Article 8: She shows us the way of true Christian life. Following the example of her faith, poverty of spirit, and attentiveness to the Lord, we hope to reflect to those around us Mary’s warmth of welcome to God and to others. Like her, we wholly commit ourselves to the mystery of our vocation.
May the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.