Blessed Virgin Mary: September 2008 Archives

OL Seven Sorrows.jpgToday's memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows helps us to know that Mary is not a detached mother. The Church shows us a side of Mary that is relevant to the human experience, to the reality that many people find themselves in.  For example, the loss of a child through kidnapping or even death. How often do we think sympathetically when a child dies before a parent? Our heart and mind says that it is out of normal order of things that a child dies before the parent. The sorrows of Mary concern the points in her life where either she's pondering the prediction of Jesus' death, dealing with the move to Egypt, the loss of the child at the Temple, or the events surrounding the Cross. Turning to Our Lady of Sorrows gives perspective and reminds us that we are not alone in the tragic events of our life. The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows is a devotion that recalls seven sorrowful events in the life of the Mary, Mother of God. A significat piece of this devotion helps to recall Mary's profound solitude on the day between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The practice of praying the seven sorrows originates with the Servite Order (Servants of Mary) bettween 1233 and 1239! Time tested for sure.

Pope Benedict XVI went to pray at the feet of Our Lady of Lourdes. This weekend the Pope made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, to visit the place where Our Lady visited Saint Bernadette Soubirous 150 years ago to offer prayer for the Church, the sick and to plead for peace in the world.

Thumbnail image for OL Lourdes Church.jpgThe Pope stated the goal of his pilgrimage:

I go as a messenger of peace and fraternity. Your country is not unknown to me. On several occasions I have had the joy to visit it and to appreciate its generous tradition of hospitality and tolerance, as well as the solidity of its Christian faith and its lofty human and spiritual culture. After visiting Paris, your country's capital, I will have the great joy to join the crowd of pilgrims who are going to follow the stages of the jubilee journey, after Saint Bernadette, to the Massabielle grotto.


My prayer will intensify at the feet of Our Lady for the intentions of the whole Church, in particular for the sick, the abandoned, as well as for peace in the world.


May Mary be for all of you in particular for young people, the Mother always attentive to the needs of her children, a light of hope that illuminates and guides your ways. I invite you to join me in prayer so that this trip will bring abundant fruits.


At the beginning of the candlelight procession in Lourdes the Holy Father said:


Dear Brothers and Sisters!


1. When the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in the grotto at Massabielle, she began OL Lourdes.jpga dialogue between Heaven and earth which has lasted through time and continues to this day. Speaking to the young girl, Mary asked that people should come here in procession, as if to signify that this dialogue cannot be limited to words, but must become a journey at her side along the pilgrim way of faith, hope and love.


Here in Lourdes, for more than a century the Christian people have faithfully responded to that maternal summons, walking each day behind Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and processing each night amid songs and prayers in honor of the Lord's Mother.


This year the Pope joins you in this act of devotion and love for the Most Holy Virgin, the glorious woman of the Book of Revelation, crowned with twelve stars (cf. Rev 12,1). Holding in our hands the lighted torch, we recall and profess our faith in the Risen Christ. From Him the whole of our life receives light and hope.


2. To you, dear brothers and sisters, I entrust a particular intention for our prayer this evening: join me in imploring the Virgin Mary to obtain for our world the longed-for gift of peace.


May forgiveness and brotherly love take root in human hearts. May every weapon be laid down, and all hatred and violence put aside.


May everyone see in his neighbor not an enemy to be fought, but a brother to be accepted and loved, so that we may join in building a better world.


3. Together let us invoke the Queen of Peace and renew our commitment to the service of reconciliation, dialogue and solidarity. In this way we shall merit the happiness which the Lord has promised to the peacemakers (Mt 5,9).


I accompany you with my prayer and my blessing. May God bless you!

The Beauty of the Name of Mary

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BVM with female saints.jpgA blessed feast of Mary to you!


Today is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. It has a feast of the Church since 1683 when Pope Innocent XI made it a universal feast. It was removed from the Church's liturgical memory after Vatican II but was restored  when Pope John Paul II published the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal in 2002. His tremendous love for the Mother of God is a significant benchmark for all of us.


Pope Benedict XVI said the following about Mary's holy name at Abbey of Heiligenkreuz (9 September 2007):


Let us say a few words about this Name which means "Star of the Sea" and is so appropriate to the Virgin Mother. She -- I tell you -- is that splendid and wondrous star
stephansplatz2.jpgsuspended as if by necessity over this great wide sea, radiant with merit and brilliant in example.
O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land: if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star. When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of tribulation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.


Whether you are being tossed about by the waves of pride or ambition, or slander or jealousy, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary. When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul, gaze up at Mary. When the immensity of your sins weighs you down and you are bewildered by the loathsomeness of your conscience, when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary. Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life, and you will obtain the favour of her prayer. Following her, you will never go astray.


Asking her help, you will never despair. Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away. With your hand in hers, you will never stumble. With her protecting you, you will not be afraid. With her leading you, you will never tire. Her kindness will see you through to the end. Then you will know by your own experience how true it is that the Virgin's Name was Mary.


Holy Name of Mary.jpg


Let us pray.

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God,
that to all who are celebrating her glorious name, the Blessed Virgin Mary herself may dispense the benefits of your mercy.

Let us meditate on the most honorable birth of the glorious Virgin Mary, who has attained the dignity of motherhood without losing the purity of maidenhood.

(Magnificat antiphon)


Birth of the Virgin.jpgOur Lady's Nativitye

Joye in the risinge of our orient starr,
That shall bringe forth the Sunne that lent her light;
Joy in the peace that shall conclude our warr,
And soone rebate the edge of Satan's spight;
Load-starr of all engolfd in worldly waves,
The card and compasse that from shipwracke saves.


The patriark and prophettes were the floures
Which Tyme by course of ages did distill,
And culld into this little cloude the shoures
Whose gracious droppes the world with joy shall fill;
Whose moysture suppleth every soule with grace,
And bringeth life to Adam's dyinge race.


For God, on Earth, she is the royall throne,
The chosen cloth to make His mortall weede;
The quarry to cutt out our Corner-stone,
Soyle full of fruite, yet free from mortall seede;
For heavenly floure she is the Jesse rodd
The childe of man, the parent of God.


Robert Southwell (1560-1595)
Jennings, Elizabeth, ed. In Praise of Our Lady. Great Britain: Pitman Press, 1982.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Blessed Virgin Mary category from September 2008.

Blessed Virgin Mary: August 2008 is the previous archive.

Blessed Virgin Mary: October 2008 is the next archive.

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