Wednesday 11 September 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - The Holy Name of Mary - Are you generally a happy person, or do you go about life as if the burden of the whole world is on your shoulders? Will you give up that burden today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gal 4:4-7; Lk 1:39-47

The feast of the Holy Name of Mary is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (3rd January). Its object is the Blessed Virgin Mary; the feast commemorates all the privileges given to Mary by God and all the graces received through her intercession and mediation.

In the reform of Pope Pius X, the liturgy of the Sundays, which previously had been generally replaced by celebrations of saints, was restored to prominence. The celebration of the Holy Name of Mary was therefore moved to 12th September though initially it was celebrated on 15th September to coincide with the eighth day of Mary’s birth.

The Hebrew name Maryãm may be translated "Bitter Sea," "Myrrh of the Sea," "The Light Giver," "The Enlightened One," "The Light Giver," and especially "Star of the Sea."  Miryãm on the other hand means Lady or Sovereign. The name of a person signifies the function and just as the name Jesus means “God saves from sin (Mt 1:21) so the name Mary means that our Lady is indeed our Lady and so our intercessor, inspiration and guide.

The text chosen for the feast of today concerns Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and is also the scriptural basis for the second Joyful mystery of the Rosary.

Since the angel does not ask Mary to visit Elizabeth, or even suggest it, the alacrity with which Mary goes to visit Elizabeth expresses clearly that Mary trusted the angel’s word. Mary’s greeting of Elizabeth results in a sign which is that the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. This could also indicate that the announcement of the angel to Zechariah that their child would be filled with the Holy Spirit is being fulfilled. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth is also able to utter an oracle which seems to have as its source, the Spirit of God. She recognizes Mary and the child in her womb as blessed. Not only has Elizabeth been blessed, because God answered her prayer for the gift of a child, she has also been blessed by a visit from the one who is called to be the mother of her Lord. The leap of the babe in Elizabeth’s womb was a leap of joy. John has already begun to fulfill his calling as one who would declare the Lord’s coming and prepare the way for him. Mary is blessed because she dared to believe in God’s word.

When joy or happiness is shared it is doubled; when sorrow or sadness is shared it is halved. The joy of Elizabeth and Mary on their respective vocations is shared by the other and hence, both experience a doubling of their joy. This joy is experienced by even the child in Elizabeth’s womb, because it is a genuine joy felt by its mother.

Life is too short to cry or be sad. Life is too short not to be happy or not to share in the joy of others.

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