The Holy Name of Mary (Dom Guéranger)
(The following is excerpted from Dom Prosper Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Volume XIV of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.)
"'And the Virgin's name was Mary [St. Luke i. 27.]. Let us speak a little about this name, which signifies star of the sea, and which so well befits the Virgin Mother. Rightly is she likened to a star: for as a star emits its ray without being dimmed so the Virgin brought forth her Son without receiving any injury; the ray takes nought from the brightness of the star, nor the Son from His Mother's integrity. This is the noble star risen out of Jacob, whose ray illumines the world world, whose splendour shines in the heavens, penetrates the abyss, and, traversing the whole earth, gives warmth rather to souls than to bodies, cherishing virtues, withering vices. Mary, I say, is that bright and incomparable star, whom we need to see raised above this vast sea, shining by her merits, and giving us light by her example."
"Oh! whosoever thou art that seest thyself, amid the tides of this world, tossed about storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, turn not thine eyes away from the shining of this star if thou wouldst not be overwhelmed by the hurricane. If squalls of temptations arise, or thou fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star, call upon Mary. If thou art tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship of thy soul, turn thine eyes towards Mary. If, trouble by the enormity of thy crimes, ashamed of thy guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, thou beginnest to sink into sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her be ever on thy lips, ever in thy heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life. Following her, thou strayest not; invoking her, thou despairest not; thinking of her, thou wanderest not; upheld by her, thou fallest not; shielded by her, thou fearest not; guided by her, thou growest not weary; favoured by her, thou reachest the goal. And thus dost thou experience in thyself how good is that saying: And the Virgin's name was Mary' [from a homily of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, cites in the Lesson of the 2nd nocturn of the Office of the feast].
"Thus speaks the devout St. Bernard, in the name of the Church. But his pious explanation does not exhaust the meanings of this blessed name of Mary. St. Peter Chrysologus adds in this same night Office: 'Mary in Hebrew signifies lady or sovereign; and truly the authority of her Son, who is the Lord of the world, constituted her Queen, both in fact and in name, from her very birth' [from a sermon of his on the Annunciation]."
"OUR LADY: such is the title which befits her in every way, as that of OUR LORD beseems her Son; it is the doctrinal basis of that worship [meaning veneration, not adoration] of hyperdulia which belongs to her alone. She is below her Son, whom she adores as we do; but above all God's servants, both angels and men, inasmuch as she is His Mother; At the name of Jesus every knee is bent; at the name of Mary every head is bowed. And although the former is the only name whereby we may be saved; yet, as the Son can never be separated from His Mother, heaven unites their two names in its hymns of praise, earth in its confidence, hell in its fear and hatred."
"It was therefore in the order of divine Providence that devotion to the most holy name of Mary should spread simultaneously with the cultus of the adorable names of Jesus, of which St. Bernadin[e] of Siena was the apostle in the fifteenth century. In 1513 the Church of Cuenca in Spain was the first to celebrate, with the approbation of the holy See, a special feast in honour of the name of Mary, while the Franciscan Order had not yet succeeded in obtaining a like privilege for the adorable name of Jesus. The reason of this is that the memory of that sacred name included in the feast of the Circumcision, seemed to the prudence of the Pontiffs to suffice. From the same motive we find the feast of the most holy name of Mary extended to universal Church in the year 1683, and that of the most holy name of Jesus not yet until 1721."
"Our Lady justifies her beautiful title by partaking in the warlike exploits of the King of kings her Son. The city of Vienna having been delivered by her, contrary to all hope, from the power of the Crescent, the venerable Innocent XI made this feast the memorial of universal gratitude to the liberatrix of the west...."
Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland, displayed in the Monastery of Jasna Gora in Poland, which was visited by King Jan Sobieski before leaving with his army to fight the Turks.
(The following is excerpted from Dom Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for September 12, in the same volume of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.)
"'Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? [Cant. vi.9.]' Such is thy growth , O Mary! Not the holiest life, were it even of patriarchal duration, will ever attain the degree of progress made under the influence of divine power by the soul of the most pure Virgin, in these few days elapsed since her coming on earth. First, there is the progress of her intellect: not subject to the obscurity which envelops the minds of all men at their entrance into the world, it is a faithful mirror, into which the Word of God pours floods of that light which is also life. Then the progress of love in that heart of the Virgin and the Mother, wherein the holy Spirit already delights to awake such ineffable harmonies, and to dig still deeper depths. Lastly, the progress of that victorious power, which made satan tremble at the moment of the Immaculate Conception, and which has constituted Mary the incomparable Queen of the hosts of the Lord."
"Two glorious triumphs, two victories won under the protection of our Lady, have rendered this present day illustrious in the annals of the Church and of history."
"Manicheism, revived under a variety of names, had established itself in the south of France, whence it hoped to spread its reign of shameless excess. But [Saint] Dominic appeared with Mary's [R]osary for the defence of the people. On September 12, 1213, Simon de Montfort and the crusaders of the faith, one against forty, crushed the Albigensian army at Muret. This was in the pontificate of Innocent III."
"Nearly five centuries late, the Turks, who had more than once caused the west to tremble, again poured down upon Christendom. Vienna, worn out and dismantled, abandoned by its emperor, was surrounded by 300,000 infidels. But another great Pope, Innocent XI, again confided to Mary the defence of the baptized nations. [King] Sobieski, mounting his charger on the feast of our Lady's Assumption, hastened from Poland by forced marches. On the Sunday within the octave of the Nativity [of the Blessed Virgin Mary], September 12, 1683, Vienna was delivered; and then began for the Osmanlis that series of defeats which ended in the treaties of Carlowitz and Passarowitz, and the dismemberment of the Ottoman empire. The feast of the most holy name of Mary inscribed on the calendar of the universal Church, was the homage of the world's gratitude to Mary, our Lady and Queen."