Saying Mary’s Name

Today we keep a feast in honor of the Blessed Mother’s name. We call upon her by name constantly. We say “Mary” 106 times whenever we recite her rosary.

St. Joseph used Mary’s name every day, gently, thoughtfully. When He was young, the Lord Jesus heard this, heard His foster father use His mother’s name. And He heard others say “Mary,” respectfully and affectionately, countless times. Certainly it warmed the Lord’s heart whenever He heard anyone use the name of Mary with love. Can we doubt that it warms His heart now, up in heaven, when He hears us respectfully and lovingly call her by name?

When we call our Lady by name, how exactly do we invoke her? Of course, we do not invoke her as our god or goddess. She called herself a lowly handmaid. She knows better than anyone that she was made by the One Who became man in her womb. He formed her out of nothing, so that He could form His own sacred Body from her flesh.

So we call out to Mary as to a sister of our race. When God came to save us, He made Himself man by having a mother of our own kind.

But, by the same token, we have to ask ourselves: Why do we call out to Mary at all? The entire Catholic world calls out to her, as to a queen. Why?

We do it because we know how weak and prone to evil we are. Our Lady is not God, but, compared to us, she has god-like holiness.

She has what it takes to bear us up through thick and thin. We fall into doubt, but she believes. We puff ourselves up with ridiculous pride, but she humbles herself even in her heavenly throne. We indulge ourselves with concupiscent self-love; she pours out everything in her heart for others. “Mary,” the name, the person—the word practically means “love for others.” She is not God, but no creature is more like God than Mary is.

We love our Protestant brothers and sisters, of course. But we make no apologies for crying out to our Blessed Mother and speaking her name with the most profound reverence. Don’t like our statues of Mary? Listen, brother: There ain’t no statue high enough for us. Every token of devotion we offer to our Lady is less than she deserves. Indeed, she is not God. But she is a far piece more beautiful, more powerful, and more wonderful than you, or me, or any of us down here. The last thing in the world any Christian needs to worry about is loving Christ’s mother too much.

2 thoughts on “Saying Mary’s Name

  1. Father Mark,

    I’m reading Barron’s “Catholicism”; and I just finished Chapter 4. As I mentioned to the National Association of Christian Contractors (Deacon F.S. and four other guys) yesterday, “The Church’s position on Mary has never made more sense to me.” It really helped me understand it. And, more surprisingly, the closing of the chapter, “Our Lady of Guadalupe” really brought it all home.

    Our Protestant brothers were still venerating Mary seventy years ago. It’s only the rise in Fundamentalism and Non-denominational Churches which seems to have latched on to anti-Marianism as a mantra. But, then, they also denigrate Catholicism as a “cult”, and accuse us of being into “works” rather than faith (be still, Paul & James). It must be interesting to have a religion based more on what you’re against than what you’re for. Still more interesting (in light of very current events) are religions which believe that violence is justified by religion when the principals or principles of that religion are presented in a negative manner.

    Oddly enough, if we’d all act with her humility and her acceptance of God’s invitation to join in HIS holy endeavor of human salvation, all this strife and division would soon depart, ne’er to return.

    In God we trust.



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