May 4th. – Instruction 4. The Holy Name of Mary.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
May 4th. – Instruction 4. The Holy Name of Mary.
“And the virgin’s name was Mary.” – St. Luke i. 27.
After the adorable name of Jesus, that name which is above all others, before which every knee must bend, in heaven, on earth, and in hell, there is another name very dear to all Christians and most worthy of veneration and love and confidence. That name is Mary. The Church of God on earth, which desires to publish at all times and in all places the praises of the august Mother of God, has consecrated to this blessed name a particular feast. She has blended this name in her prayers, in her hymns and canticles, and she exhorts the faithful never to separate it from the holy name of Jesus. Let us enter into the spirit of the Church, which is the pillar and ground of truth, and, therefore, our infallible guide in the devotion which we should give to our blessed Mother. In this instruction we will consider the excellence of the holy name of Mary and the precious ad vantages of invoking this name.
1. Excellence of the holy name of Mary. – When God gives a name to especially designate some one of His creatures, this name usually indicates the functions or qualities of the person to whom it is given. This truth is strikingly evident in the ever-adorable name of Jesus, and also in the name of His holy Mother. The name Mary signifies sovereign, queen, patroness. To whom do these glorious titles apply more than to Mary? With St. John Damascene we may say: “Mary has become the sovereign of all creatures in being the Mother of the Creator.” Hence the magnificent titles which the Church and the saints have given to Mary. She is styled by them the mistress of the universe, the queen of heaven, the dispensatrix of all graces, the all-powerful mediatrix between God and man. All except God are inferior and obedient to her. In heaven the angels stand prepared to execute her slightest wish, and on earth men experience each day the effects of her powerful protection.
The name of Mary also signifies “divinely inspired.” Who can ever tell the treasures of science, in the order of nature and grace, which filled the mind of the august Virgin? “Does she not know all things,” says St. Gaudentius, “who gave to the world Knowledge itself?” Is it not with reason the Church invokes her under the glorious title, Seat of wisdom? St. Bernard justly calls Mary the Abyss of wisdom. The divine perfections of God unveiled themselves to her mind more sublime and clear than to angels or seraphim, or to the whole heavenly court. To the knowledge of the divine attributes Mary united the knowledge of Jesus, both as God and Man, as Redeemer and Head of the Church. Moreover, it is to Mary that the Church attributes the glory of having dispelled everywhere the dense darkness of heresy, which threatened the existence of God’s Church on earth.
The name of Mary also signifies “Star of the sea.” In fact, we salute her as the light, the consolation, and the guide of all who traverse the sea of this world. Oh, how she makes known to us the darkest dangers of this tempestuous sea by the brightness of her own example! How safely she will conduct us through the countless dangers, if we journey under her protection! The temptations of the demon, the seductions of the world, the countless snares to which we are exposed – these render the sea of life most dangerous; but confidence in Mary will save us from disastrous shipwreck and conduct us safely to that secure haven where no danger may assail us. Oh, blessed Star of the sea, thy name is the consolation of the afflicted, the terror of demons, the source of greatest joy in heaven and on earth!
2. Precious advantages of invoking this name. – The pages of secular and religious history are replete with the most striking circumstances which attest the protection of Mary for the faithful who invoke her holy name. We could not recount them all. In the year 1099 the Christians, with Godfrey de Bouillon at their head, entered in triumph the city of Jerusalem. They all attested that they owed their complete victory to the intercession of the Mother of God, after they had recited the Little Office daily in her honor. In the year 1572 a great naval victory was gained over the Turks in the Gulf of Lepanto. The great Pope Pius V., in memory of the signal protection of Mary, added to the Litany the invocation “Help of Christians.” The Rosary was recited in all the churches of Rome during the engagement between the Turks and the Christians. In fact, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary was instituted precisely to commemorate the brilliant victory of the Christians in the battle of Lepanto. In our own days, and under our eyes, we see pious pilgrims wending their way toward the sanctuaries consecrated to the Blessed Virgin. Is it not the name of Mary which charms and attracts them? Is it not this blessed name which they are going to invoke with confidence? And for what do they ask? Is it some special grace or favor? Do they ask for some miraculous intervention on the part of the Mother of God which they could not expect except through her? With the loving and firm confidence of children they hope to receive every blessing through her intercession. They pray for the Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff. They pray for themselves, their friends, and enemies. They pray for poor sinners. The name of Mary is on their lips and in their hearts. To repeat this name again and again is all their joy and their hope. The great St. Bernard declares that the holy name of Mary has never been invoked in vain. With this doctor of the Church I say, whoever you may be, just or sinner, lift up your eyes toward Mary. Invoke her name in all the circumstances of your life, at all times, in all places. Call upon her in life and at the moment of death. This holy name will be your greatest consolation and the pledge of your dearest hopes for eternity.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Of supporting Injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.
II. The better thou disposest thyself for suffering, the more wisely dost thou act, and the more dost thou merit; and thou wilt bear it more easily, thy mind being well prepared for it, and accustomed to it.
Do not say, I cannot take these things from such a man, and things of this kind are not to be suffered by me, for he has done me a great injury, and he upbraids me with things I never thought on; but I will suffer willingly from another, and as far as I shall judge fitting for me to suffer.
Such a thought is foolish, which considers not the virtue of patience, nor by whom it shall be crowned ; but rather weighs the
persons, and the offences committed.. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt 2.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)
The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).
The Lovely Month of May
1. The sun is shining brightly,
The trees are clothed with green,
The beauteous bloom of flowers
On ev’ry side is seen.
The fields are gold and emerald,
And all the world is gay;
For ’tis the month of Mary,
The lovely month of May.
O Mary, dear Mother,
We sing a hymn to thee;
Thou art the Queen of Heaven,
Thou too, our Queen shalt be.
Oh! rule us and guide us
2. There’s music in the heavens,
For birds are singing there;
And nature’s songs and praises
Are sounding through the air;
And we, with hearts o’erflowing
With joy, will sing to-day;
For ’tis the month of Mary,
The lovely month of May.
3. And when night closes o’er us,
And twinkling stars appear;
The chaste moon calmly reigneth,
In skies so bright and clear.
Oh, how that sight reminds us
Of heaven far away,
Where reigns o’er saints and angels,
Our lovely Queen of May.
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