The late Father John J. Sullivan led a legendary priestly life. Father Sullivan was a rough-and-tumble priest of Irish-American descent. He was born to wealth and he did, truth be told, flaunt it a bit. He was, though, deeply in love with the Catholic Faith and knew his dogma inside and out. He could quote the Summa Theologica in Latin without a moment's hesitation, something he did quite frequently in the three courses (Ecclesiology, Eschatology and Mariology, The Unity and Trinity of God) I took with him while at Holy Apostles Seminary in the 1983-1984 academic year. He was brilliant, and he knew it. He took on all comers who challenged him on theological questions, pounding out his answers from the Summa and other sources, including the Fathers of the Church.
Father Sullivan, who was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1941, fought for the Faith with his fists, as had the equally legendary Father Frederick Schell, S.J. Indeed, I dare say that Father Schell, who died fourteen years ago on the Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, would have beaten up "Jackie Boy" pretty good for not "getting it" about the importance of restoring the Immemorial Mass of Tradition if they had ever met. Father Sullivan did, however, win a few good battles with his fists, including one to avenge a blasphemous account of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's conception that was told by a fellow seminary professor in 1981. Father Sullivan, who loved Our Lady with all of his priestly heart, saw this priest outside of the chapel at Holy Apostles, teaching him a lesson about how he had dishonored the Mother of God. Father Sullivan told the rector, the late Father Leo Ovian, "Well, you see, Father, the man slipped, and every time he got up he hit my fists."
Father John Joseph Sullivan's spirited defense of Our Lady's honor after she had been blasphemed by a priest demonstrates the fact that a man who is analter Christus must have a special devotion to the Mother of the One to Whose Priesthood and Victimhood his immortal soul had been configured at the moment of his priestly ordination. Father Sullivan never tired during class lectures of interjecting stories about how Our Lady had assisted him in some tough times, especially when he went on raids with narcotics offices while serving as their chaplain over the years. "Our Lady helped me dodge a lot bullets" he said more than once. (If you will recall, Father Sullivan told a lot of the same stories more than once). "She will help you dodge bullets in your pastoral life as a priest!" he noted with with love in a voice that had grown gruff from years of smoking "the butts," that is, cigarettes.
Father Sullivan was very earthy, a little prone to keep an eye on a pretty waitress in a restaurant. "I like looking at the dollies. God's handiwork, you know," he told me once when I remonstrated with him years after I had left Holy Apostles. No, not exactly from the Cure of Ars or from Padre Pio. Granted. This earthy, rough-and-tumble priest who was the only boy in a family of five children, nevertheless loved Our Lady with such a tender devotion that I am sure that the men who studied under him developed an even more intense devotion to her than they had before they meet him. Devotion to Our Lady, you see, comes in all shapes and sizes. What she cares about is that we are devoted to her and that we keep her sweet, sweet name on our lips at all times. Whether it be the austere Cure of Ars, Saint John Marie Vianney, or the very earthy "Jackie Boy" Sullivan, priests who spread a tender devotion to Our Lady help souls to beat back the advances of the world, the flesh, and the devil in their own lives.
Today's feast of the Holy Name of Mary reminds us that we are to call upon Our Lady at all times of our lives. Demons flee in fright at the mere mention of her holy name. She never fails to remember those who remember her.
Indeed, there is the famous story of a man who had been away from the Faith for a long time. He was injured seriously in a car accident when it happened that a priest stopped his car and asked the man if he wanted to receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. The man said yes, and the priest went ahead and gave him the last rites after hearing his confession.
Amazed that such a sinner could have been so blessed to have a priest happen upon him as he lay dying following his car accident, the priest asked the man what did he think he had done to have received such a blessing."
"Three Hail Marys a day," the man answered as he was about to die. "I always said three Hail Marys a day."
"Nothing more?" asked the priest in disbelief."
"Three Hail Marys," the man said. He said three Hail Marys at that point and died.
The devotion of the Three Hail Marys can be traced to the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Saint Anthony of Padua himself practiced and recommended this devotion, and Our Lady favored those great Benedictine co-workers, Saint Mechtilde and Saint Gertrude the Great, with revelations later in the Thirteenth Century. Our Lady promised Saint Gertrude the Great that "To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor of beauty so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with Heavenly consolation." I don't know about you out there in cyperspace, but that is a whole lot of consolation to a sinner such as this writer.
Yes, we must pray to Our Lady from the time we get up in the morning to the time that we go to sleep at night. As the consecrated slaves of her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, we offer to her all of thoughts and prayers and actions whatever merits and indulgences we earn during the course of a day to be used as she sees fit to direct them. She uses all of our joys and all of our sorrows and all of our pains and all of our humiliations in ways that will only be made manifest to us in eternity, please God we persevere until the end in states of Sanctifying Grace. Nothing we give to Our Lady is ever wasted. Nothing.
Yes, maybe some poor, forgotten soul in Purgatory was released one day because of the offerings we made to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Maybe some lost soul here on earth decided to cooperate with the graces being sent his way to seek membership in the Catholic Church (or to return to her maternal bosom).
Maybe some special intention that a person who is totally unknown to us has been praying for to receive was granted him as a result of the offerings we make as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Maybe some special act of thanksgiving we have made to Mary--or some pious invocation of her name (Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation)--has saved a Catholic from committing a Mortal Sin.
Maybe that extra set of mysteries of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary that we decided to "squeeze in" before bedtime helped a person have a "good death," that is, a sacramentally provided-for death, just at the moment the devil was about to snatch him for himself for all eternity.
Maybe that public defense of Our Lady as the Mother of God, as the Queen of Heaven and earth, as the Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces, helped some Protestant or Jew or other unbeliever to convert to the true Faith, outside of which there is no salvation.
Maybe our wearing of the Miraculous Medal and our dispensing it--and the Green Scapular--has helped to win for us a reward in Heaven that we cannot even begin to imagine as we attempt to walk the rocky road that leads to the narrow Gate of Life Himself.
Oh, you see, we will never know until eternity the extent to which Our Lady uses the gifts we give her on a daily basis as the consecrated slaves of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. We would bear our crosses more willingly and more lovingly, without any complaint whatsoever, if only we remembered how valiantly Our Lady suffered as she stood at the foot of her Divine Son's Holy Cross, giving spiritual re-birth to us in great lamentation as the adopted sons and daughters of the living God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Blessed Trinity. We would count it as our great joy to share her sorrows and her humiliations, offering them all to God through her Immaculate Heart, pierced through and through with the Seven Swords of Sorrow that the aged Simeon had prophesied in the Temple at her Purification would wound her to the core of her soul.
We must remember that the sweetness of the Holy Name of Mary will help to make our own hearts more ready to proclaim her glories and bid everyone to be her client unto eternity.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori devoted Chapter 10 in The Glories of Mary to the sweetness of the Holy Name of Mary:
The great name of Mary, which was given to the divine Mother, did not come to her from her parents, nor was it given to her by the mind or will of man, as is the case with all other names that are imposed in this world; but it came from Heaven, and was given her by a divine ordinance. This is attested by Saint Jerome (De Nat. M. V.), Saint Epiphanius (Or. de Praes. Deip.), Saint Antoninus (Hist. p. 1, t. 4, c. 6, #10), and others. "The name of Mary came from the treasury of the divinity" - ("De thesauro Divinitatis, Mariae nomen evolvitur"—S. de Annunt.), says Saint Peter Damian. Ah, yes, O Mary, it was from that treasury that thy high and admirable name came forth; for the most Blessed Trinity, says Richard of Saint Laurence, bestowed on thee a name above every other name after that of thy Son, and ennobled it with such majesty and power, that He willed that all Heaven, Earth, and Hell, on only hearing it, should fall down and venerate it; but I will give the author's own words: "The whole Trinity, O Mary, gave thee a name after that of thy Son above every other name, that in thy name every knee should bow, of things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" - ("Dedit tibi, Maria, tota Trinitas nomen quod est super omne nomen, post nomen Filii sui, ut in nominee ejus omne genu flectatur coelestium, terrestrium, et infernorum"—De Laud. B. M. l. 1, c. 2). But amongst the other privileges of the name of Mary, and which were given to it by God, we will now examine that of the peculiar sweetness found in it by the servants of this most holy Lady during life and in death.
And in the first place, speaking of the course of our life, the holy anchorite Honorius used to say, that "this name of Mary if filled with every sweetness and divine savor" - ("Hoc nomen Mariae plenum est omni dulcedine suavitate divina"—Ap. Lyr. Tris. Mar l. 2, m. 13); so much so, that the glorious Saint Anthony of Padua found the same sweetness in the name of Mary that Saint Bernard found in that of Jesus. "Name of Jesus!" exclaimed the one. "O name of Mary!" replied the other; "joy in the heart, honey in the mouth, melody to the ear of her devout clients" - ("Jubilus in corde, mel in ore, melos in aure"—Dom. 3 Quadr. s. 2). It is narrated in the life of the Venerable Father Juvenal Ancina, Bishop of Saluzzo, that in pronouncing the name of Mary he tasted so great and sensible a sweetness, that, after doing so, he licked his lips. We read also that a lady at Cologne told the Bishop Massilius, that as often as she uttered the name of Mary she experienced a taste far sweeter than honey. The Bishop imitated her, and experienced the same thing, (Casarius, Dial. l. 7, c. 50).
We gather from the sacred canticles, that on the Assumption of our Blessed Lady, the angels asked her name three times. "Who is she that goeth up by the desert as a pillar of smoke?" - ("Quae est ista, quae ascendit per desertum, sicut virgula fumi?"—Canticles 3:6) again, "Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising?" - ("Quae est ista, quae progreditur quasi aurora consurgens?"—Canticles 6:9) and again, "Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights?" - ("Quae est ista, quae ascendit de deserto, deliciis affluens?"—Canticles 8:5) "And why", says Richard of Saint Laurence, "do the angels so often ask the name of their Queen?" He answers, "That it was so sweet even to the angels to hear it pronounced, that they desired to hear that sweet name in reply" - ("Forsitan quia dulce nomen sibi desiderant responderi"—De Laud. V. M. l. 1, c. 2).
But here I do not intend to speak of that sensible sweetness, for it is not granted to all; I speak of that salutary sweetness of consolation, of love, of joy, of confidence, of strength, which the name of Mary ordinarily brings to those who pronounce it with devotion.
The Abbot Francone, speaking on this subject, says, "there is no other name after that of the Son, in heaven or on earth, whence pious minds derive so much grace, hope, and sweetness" - ("Neque enim, post Filii sui nomen, aliud nomen coelum aut terra nominat, unde tantum gratiae, tantum spei, tantum suavitatis, piae mentes concipiant"). After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on Earth and in Heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness. "For", he continues, "there is something so admirable, sweet, and divine in this name of Mary, that when it meets with friendly hearts it breathes into them an odor of delightful sweetness". And he adds, in conclusion, "that the wonder of this great name is, that if heard by the lovers of Mary a thousand times, it is always heard again with renewed pleasure, for they always experience the same sweetness each time it is pronounced" - ("Nomen namque Mariae, irum quid, suave, ac divinum, in se continent, ut, cum sonuerit amicis cordibus, amicae suavitatis odorem spiret. Et mirum illud est de nominee Mariae, ut, millies auditum, simper audiatur quasi novem"—De Grat. D. l. 6).
The Blessed Henry Suso (Dial. c. 16), also speaking of this sweetness, says, "that when he named Mary, he felt himself so excited to confidence, and inflamed with such love and joy with which he pronounced the beloved name, he desired that his heart might leave his breast; for he declared that this most sweet name was like a honeycomb dissolving in the inmost recess of the soul"; and then he would exclaim: "O most sweet name! O Mary, what must thou thyself be, since thy name alone is thus amiable and gracious!"
The enamored Saint Bernard, raising his heart to his good Mother, says with tenderness, "O great! O pious! O thou who art worthy of all praise! O most Holy Virgin Mary! Thy name is so sweet and amiable, that it cannot be pronounced without inflaming those who do so with love towards thee and God. It only need occur to the thought of thy lovers to move them to love thee more, and to console them". "Thou canst not be named without inflaming; thou canst not be thought of by those who love thee without filling their minds with joy" - ("O magna, O pia, O multum amabilis Mari! tu nec nominari potes, quin accendas, nec cogitari, quin recrees affectus diligentium te"—Depr. Gl. V). "And if riches comfort the poor, because they relieve them in their distress, O how much more does thy name, O Mary", says Richard of Saint Laurence, "comfort us than any earthly riches! It comforts us in the anguishes of this life". "Thy name, O Mary, is far better than riches, because it can better relieve poverty" - ("Mariae nomen longe melius quam divitiae, quia melius angustiam relevant"—De Laud. B. M. l. 1, c. 2).
In fine, "thy name, O Mother of God, is filled with divine graces and blessings" - ("Tuum, Dei genitrix, nomen divinis benedictionibus et gratis ex omni parte refertum"—De Sim. et Anna), as Saint Methodius says. So much so, that Saint Bonaventure declares, "that thy name, O Mary, cannot be pronounced without bringing some grace to him who does so devoutly" - ("Nomen tuum devote nominari non potest sine nominantis utilitate"—Spec. B. V. lect. 9). The Blessed Raymond Jordano says, "that however hardened and diffident a heart may be, the name of this most Blessed Virgin has such efficacy, that if it is only pronounced, that heart will be wonderfully softened". I will, however, give his own words. "The power of thy most holy name, O ever-blessed Virgin Mary, is such that it softens the hardness of the human heart in a wonderful manner". He then tells us that it is she who leads sinners to the hope of pardon and grace: "By thee does the sinner recover the hope of forgiveness and grace" - ("Tanta est virtus tui sacratissimi nominis, O simper benedicta Virgo Maria! quod mirabiliter emollit duritiam cordis humani; peccator per te respirat in spe veniae ei gratiae"—Cont. de V. M. c. 5).
Thy most sweet name, O Mary, according to Saint Ambrose, "is a precious ointment, which breathes forth the odor of divine grace". The saint then prays to the divine Mother, saying: "Let this ointment of salvation enter the inmost recesses of our souls" - ("Unguentum, nomen tuum; descendat istud unguentum in animae praecordia. Sancta Maria, quod divina gratiae spiramenta redolet"—Instit. Virg. c. 13): that is, grant, O Lady, that we may often remember to name thee with love and confidence; for this practice either shows the possession of divine grace, or else is a pledge that we shall soon recover it. "And truly it is so, O Mary; for the remembrance of thy name comforts the afflicted, recalls those who have erred to the way of salvation, and encourages sinners, that they may not abandon themselves to despair". It is thus that Ludolph of Saxony addresses her ("O Mariae! Tui recordation nominis, moestos laetificat, errantes ad viam salutis revocat et peccatores, ne desperent, confortat"—Vita Chr. p. 2, c. 86).
Father Pelbart says, "that as Jesus Christ by His five wounds gave a remedy for the evils of the world, so also does Mary, by her most holy name which is composed of five letters, daily bring pardon to sinners" - ("Sic Maria, suo sanctissimo nominee, quod quinque litteris constat, confert quotidie veniam peccatoribus"—Stell. l. 6, p. 1, a. 2).
For this reason is the holy name of Mary likened in the sacred canticles to oil: "Thy name is as oil poured out" - ("Oleum effusum, nomen tuum"—Off. B. V. resp. 6). On these words blessed Alan says that the glory of her name is compared to oil poured out; because oil heals the sick, sends out a sweet odor, and nourishes flames - ("Gloria nominis ejus oleo effuso comparator; oleum aegrotantem sanat, odorem parit, flammam nutrit"—In Cant. i). Thus also does the name of Mary heal sinners, rejoice hearts, and inflame them with divine love. Hence Richard of Saint Laurence "encourages sinners to have recourse to this great name", because it alone will suffice to cure them of all their evils; and "there is no disorder, however malignant, that does not immediately yield to the power of the name of Mary" - ("Peccator es, ad Mariae nomen confugias. Ipsum solum sufficit ad medendum: nam pestis tam efficax nulla sic haeret, quae ad nomen Mariae non cedat continuo"—De Laud. Virg. lib. i. cap. 2).
On the other hand, Thomas à Kempis affirms "that the devils fear the Queen of heaven to such a degree, that only on hearing her great name pronounced, they fly from him who does so as from a burning fire" - ("Expavescunt coeli Reginam spiritus maligni, et diffugiunt, audito nominee ejus, velut ab igne"—Ad Nov. s. 23). The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to Saint Bridget "that there is not on earth a sinner, however devoid he may be of the love of God, from whom the devil is not obliged immediately to fly, if he invokes her holy name with a determination to repent" - ("Nullus tam frigidus ab amore Dei est, nisi sit damnatus, si invocaverit hoc nomen, hac intentione, ut nunquam reverti velit ad opus solitum, quod non discedat ab eo statim diabolus"). On another occasion she repeated the same thing to the saint, saying, "that all the devils venerate and fear her name to such a degree, that on hearing it they immediately loosen the claws with which they hold the soul captive" - ("Omnes daemons verentur hoc nomen et timent; qui audientes hoc nomen, Maria, statim relinquunt animam de unguibus, quibus tenebant eam"). Our Blessed Lady also told Saint Bridget, "that in the same way as the rebel angels fly from sinners who invoke the name of Mary, so also do the good angels approach nearer to just souls who pronounce her name with devotion" - ("Angeli boni, audito hoc nominee, statim appropinquant magis justis"—Rev. l. 1, c. 9).
Saint Germanus declares, "that as breathing is a sign of life, so also is the frequent pronunciation of the name of Mary a sign either of the life of divine grace, or that it will soon come; for this powerful name has in it the virtue of obtaining help and life for him who invokes it devoutly". Addressing the Blessed Virgin, he says, "As breathing is a sign of life in the body, so is the frequent repetition of thy most holy name, O Virgin, by thy servants, not only a sign of life and of strength, but also it procures and conciliates both" - ("Quomodo corpus vitalis signum operationis habet respirationem, ita etiam sanctissimum nomen tuum, O Virgo! quod in ore servorum tuorum versatur assidue, vitae et auxilii non solum signum est, sed etiam ea procurat et conciliat"—De Zona Deip).
In fine, "This admirable name of our Sovereign Lady", says Richard of Saint Laurence, "is like a fortified tower, in which, if a sinner takes refuge, he will be delivered from death; for it depends and saves even the most abandoned" - ("Turris fortissimo, nomen Dominae: ad ipsam fugiet peccator et liberabitur; haec defendit quosilibet et quantumlibet peccatores"). But it is a tower of strength, which not only delivers sinners from chastisement, but also defends the just from the assaults of Hell. Thus the same Richard says, "that after the name of Jesus, there is no other in which men find so powerful assistance and salvation as in the great name of Mary" - ("Non est in aliquot alio nominee tam potens adjutorium, nec est aliquod nomen datum hominibus, post dulce nomen Jesu, ex quo tanta salus refundatur hominibus"—De Laud. B. M. l. 11). He says, "there is not such powerful help in any name, nor is there any other name given to men, after that of Jesus, from which so much salvation is poured forth upon men as from the name of Mary". Moreover, it is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity. The same author in his commentary on the words of Saint Luke, "and the Virgin's name was Mary" - ("Et nomen Virginis Maria"—Luke 1:27), remarks that these two words, Mary and Virgin, are joined together by the Evangelist, to denote that the name of this most pure Virgin should always be coupled with the virtue of chastity - ("Nomini Mariae virginitas et sanctitas inseparabiliter sunt adjuncta"—Loco cit.). Hence Saint Peter Chrysologus says, "that the name of Mary is an indication of chastity" - ("Nomen hoc, indicium castitatis"—Serm. 146), meaning, that when we doubt as to whether we have consented to thoughts against this virtue, if we remember having invoked the name of Mary, we have a certain proof that we have not sinned.
Let us, therefore, always take advantage of the beautiful advice given us by Saint Bernard, in these words: "In dangers, in perplexities, in doubtful cases, think of Mary, call on Mary; let her not leave thy lips; let her not depart from thy heart" - ("In periculis, in angustiis, in rebus dubriis, Mariam cogita, Mariam invoca; non recedat ab ore, non recedat a corde"—De Laud. V. M. hom. 2). In every danger of forfeiting divine grace, we should think of Mary, and invoke her name, together with that of Jesus; for these two names always go together. O, then, never let us permit these two most sweet names to leave our hearts, or be off our lips; for they will give us strength not only not to yield, but to conquer all our temptations.
Consoling indeed are the promises of help made by Jesus Christ to those who have devotion to the name of Mary; for one day in the hearing of Saint Bridget, He promised His most holy Mother that He would grant three special graces to those who invoke that holy name with confidence: first, that He would grant them perfect sorrow for their sins; secondly, that their crimes should be atoned for; and, thirdly, that He would give them strength to attain perfection, and at length the glory of paradise. And then Our divine Savior added: "For thy words, O My Mother, are so sweet and agreeable to Me, that I cannot deny what thou askest" - ("Habitatores mundi indigent tribus: contritione pro peccatis, satisfactione, fortitudine ad faciendum bona. Quicumque invocaverit nomen tuum, et spem habet in te, cum proposito emendandi commissa, ista tria dabuntur ei, insuper et regnum coeleste. Tanta enim est mihi dulcedo in verbis tuis, ut non possim negare quae petis"—Rev. l. 1, c. 50).
Saint Ephrem goes so far as to say, "that the name of Mary is the key of the gates of heaven" - ("Nomen Mariae est reseratorium portae coeli"—De Laud. Dei Gen.), in the hands of those who devoutly invoke it. And thus it is not without reason that Saint Bonaventure says "that Mary is the salvation of all who call upon her"; for he addresses her, saying: "O salvation of all who invoke thee!" - ("O Salus te invocantium!") meaning, that to obtain eternal salvation and invoke her name are synonymous; and Richard of Saint Laurence affirms, "that the devout invocation of this sweet and holy name leads to the acquisition of superabundant graces in this life, and a very high degree of glory in the next" - ("Devota invocation nominis ejus ducit ad virorem gratiae in praesenti, ad virorem gloriae in futuro"—De Laud B. M. l. 1, c. 2). "If then, O brethren", concludes Thomas à Kempis, "you desire consolation in every labor, have recourse to Mary; invoke the name of Mary, honor Mary, recommend yourselves to Mary, rejoice with Mary, weep with Mary, pray with Mary, walk with Mary, seek Jesus with Mary; in fine, desire to live and die with Jesus and Mary. By acting thus you will always advance in the ways of God, for Mary will most willingly pray for you, and the Son will most certainly grant all that His Mother asks" - ("Si consolari in omni tribulatione quaeritis, accedite ad Mariam. Mariam invocate, Mariam honorate, Mariae vos commendate; cum Maria gaudete, cum Maria dolete, cum Maria orate, cum Maria ambulate, cum Maria Jesum quaerite, cum Maria et Jesu vivere et mori desiderate. Fratres, si ista exercetis, proficietis; Maria libenter pro vobis orabit, et Jesus libenter Matrem suam exaudiet"—Ad Nov. s. 21).
Thus we see that the most holy name of Mary is sweet indeed to her clients during life, on account of the very great graces that she obtains for them. But sweeter still will it be to them in death, on account of the tranquil and holy end that it will insure them.
Father Sertorius Caputo, of the Society of Jesus, exhorted all who assist the dying frequently to pronounce the name of Mary; for this name of life and hope, when repeated at the hour of death, suffices to put the devils to flight, and to comfort such persons in their sufferings.
"The invocation of the sacred names of Jesus and Mary", says Thomas à Kempis, "is a short prayer which is as sweet to the mind, and as powerful to protect those who use it against the enemies of their salvation, as it is easy to remember" - ("Haec sancta oratio: 'Jesus et Maria,' brevis est ad legendum, facilis ad tenendum, dulcis ad cogitandum, fortis ad protegendum"—Vall. Lil. c. 13).
"Blessed is the man who loves thy name, O Mary" - ("Beatus vir qui diligit nomen tuum, Maria"), exclaims Saint Bonaventure. "Yes, truly blessed is he who loves thy sweet name, O Mother of God! for", he continues, "thy name is so glorious and admirable, that no one who remembers it has any fears at the hour of death" - ("Gloriosum et admirabile est omen tuum; qui illud retinent, non expavescent in puncto mortis"—Psalt. B. V. ps. i. 110). Such is its power, that none of those who invoke it at the hour of death fear the assaults of their enemies.
Oh, that we may end our lives as did the Capuchin Father, Fulgentius of Ascoli, who expired singing, "O Mary, O Mary, the most beautiful of creatures! Let us depart together"; or according to the annals of the Order, like Blessed Henry the Cistercian, who expired in the very moment that he was pronouncing the most sweet name of Mary - ("Inter ipsam dulcissimi nominis articulationem!")
Let us then, O devout reader, beg God to grant us, that at death the name of Mary may be the last word on our lips. This was the prayer of Saint Germanus: "May the last movement of my tongue be to pronounce the name of the Mother of God" - ("Dei atris nomen sit mihi ultimus linguae loquentis motus"—In Deip. Ann.); O sweet, O safe is that death which is accompanied and protected by so saving a name; for God only grants the grace of invoking it to those whom He is about to save.
O my sweet Lady and Mother, I love thee much, and because I love thee I also love thy holy name. I purpose and hope, with thy assistance, always to invoke it during life and at death. And to conclude with the tender prayer of Saint Bonaventure: "I ask thee, O Mary, for the glory of thy name, to come and meet my soul when it is departing from this world, and to take it in thine arms" - ("In exitu animae meae de hoc mundo, occurred illi, Domina, et suscipe eam"). "Disdain not, O Mary", the saint continues, "to come then and comfort me with thy presence. Be thyself my soul's ladder and way to heaven. Do thou thyself obtain for it the grace of forgiveness and eternal repose" - ("Consolare eam vultu sancto tuo; esto illi scala et iter ad paradisum Dei; impetra ei indulgentiam pacis, et sedem lucis"). He then concludes saying, "O Mary, our advocate, it is for thee to defend thy clients, and to undertake their cause before the tribunal of Jesus Christ" - ("Sustine devotos ante tribunal Christi; suscipe causam eorum in minibus tuis"—Psalt. B. V. ps. 113). (Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary.)
Indeed, what would our world look like if statesmen were willing to proclaim the Holy Name of Mary and to fight for the honor of that name? I dare say, ladies and gentlemen, that there would be no baby-killing, whether chemical or surgical, under cover of law if those who held public office proclaimed the Holy Name of Mary and shook the killing centers to their rafters by praying her Most Holy Rosary frequently near their entrances. Indeed, the infidels who surround us at present, both the Talmudic Jews and the Mohammedans, would either flee in fright as the demons do at the mere mention of the Holy Name of Mary--or they would be inspired to convert to the true Faith and thus have access to the live-giving helps provided in the sacraments entrusted by her Divine Son solely to the Catholic Church.
This is what Jan Sobieski did on September 12, 1683, forcing the Mohammedans who greatly outnumbered his forces to flee from the Gates of Vienna.
As is related in The Garland of Roses:
In 1683 Turkish forces threatened once again to overrun Europe. They carried the war into Austria for the purpose of annihilating the Catholic religion. Kara Mustapha, Grand Vizier of Mahomet IV, had boasted that he would not rest until he had stabled his master's horses at Saint Peter's in Rome. With an army 300,000 strong, the leader of the infidels arrived at the gates of Vienna and laid siege to the city. Days of enemy assaults, fire, and disease had reduced the Austrian capital to the last extremity. A small garrison of exhausted men, under the command of the courageous Imperial General, Count Starhemberg, himself wounded in the attack, fought desperately, with no earthly help in sight.
Pope Innocent XI urgently appealed to the princes of Europe on behalf of the beleaguered city and, on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the "Unvanquished Lion of the North", John Sobieski, King of Poland, mounted his war-horse, going forth to battle for the glory of the cross and the preservation of all Christendom. (Letter to Blessed Pope Innocent XVI)
Before Our Lady's altar in Her sanctuary in Czestochowa, the King raised his sword and vowed not to sheathe it until the mighty Queen of Heaven had given victory. The army asked Her blessings on their enterprise. Marching towards Vienna, the men prayed the Holy Rosary, Sobieski, wearing an image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, gave his soldiers their battle cry: In the Name of Mary: Lord God, help!
Joining up with the Imperial army, under the command of Charles, Duke of Lorraine, John Sobieski, whose tranquil presence in the midst of fiercest combat had such power with his own forces, had been unanimously chosen to lead the united armies of Europe. Many a time had his fearless leadership routed the Moslem invaders!
At five o'clock on the morning of September 12, the Holy Sacrifice was celebrated by the papal legate, Father Marco d'Aviano, on the heights of Mount Kalemberg, overlooking the Austrian capital. The King yielded to no one in the honor serving that Mass. The armies of Christendom knelt in humble prayer. Later on that same day, Father Marco was to see a white dove hovering over this very king and his men while the battled raged, a sign of the victory to come.
The King gave a signal. Drums rolled, cannons roared and the great human avalanche plunged down the steep mountain precipices shouting, Jesus! Mary! Sobieski! Jesus! Mary! Sobieski!
Many were the separate and terrible combats on that memorable day, but suffice it to say that by five in the afternoon, the warrior king brandished his sword and charged upon the tent of the Turkish leader, shouting the words of the prophet king [David], Non nobis Domine exercituum, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam. Not to us, O Lord of Host, not to us, but to Thy name give the glory. [Psalm 113:9]
The name of Sobieski spread panic throughout the enemy camp. Kara Mustapha, trembling in his boots, turned to the Tarter Khan, Selim Gieray, Can you not save me? he pleaded. I know the Polish king, Selim replied, where he is, flight is our only refuge. Look out upon the firmament and you will see that God Himself is against us. (The two armies saw the crescent moon fade in the skies.) The Moslem army fled in terror. Sobieski and his men attributed their victory to God and the power of Our Lady's name.
We are now on our march to Hungary, the king wrote, taking advantage of their distraction to defeat the remainder of their scattered troops. I have all the princes of the Empire my companions in this enterprise, who tell me they are ready to follow such a leader not only into Hungary but to the end of the world...Thanks be to Heaven, now the half-moon triumphs no longer over the Cross.
Blessed Pope Innocent XI, established the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary to be celebrated on the twelfth of September each year as a perpetual memory of the victory of Vienna.
[Just as an aside, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary is only an "optional memorial" in the liturgical calendar of the counterfeit church of conciliarism's Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service, meaning that it can be ignored with impunity. The same feast is a Greater Double in the calendar of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.]
I do not think that the name " 'Pope' Francis" spreads terror in the hearts of Mohammedans today, who have no intention whatsoever of conceding anything to "religious liberty" in their own countries while they take full advantage of it in the formerly Catholic countries of Europe and right here in the cradle of this heresy, the pluralistic United States of America, to place themselves in a position to wield the levels of civil governance within a half century, if not sooner, as a a direct result of the embrace of contraceptive pills and devices by millions upon millions of former Catholics and as a result of the contraception and abortion of the Holy Faith represented by conciliarism. Indeed, formerly Catholic churches are being turned into mosques and/or offer to Mohammedans so that they can worship their false god throughout Europe. Meanwhile, of course, Jorge Mario Bergoglio oversaw the enactment of a "nullity" process several years ago that is nothing other than a no-fault divorce, if you will, in his own false church.
Our Lady herself told the Venerable Mary of Agreda the significance of her most hallowed name:
335. On the eighth day after the birth of the great Queen multitudes of most beautiful Angels in splendid array descended from on high carrying an escutcheon upon which was engraved brilliant and resplendent the name of MARY. Appearing to the blessed mother Anne they told her the name of her daughter was to be MARY, which name they had brought from heaven, and which divine Providence had selected and now ordained to be given to their Child by Joachim and herself. The Saint called for her husband and they conferred with each other about this disposition of God in regard to the name of their Daughter. The more than happy father accepted the name with joy and devout affection. They decided to call their relatives and a priest. and then with much solemnity and festivity they imposed the name of Mary on their Child. The Angels also celebrated this event with most sweet and ravishing music which, however, was heard only by the mother and her most holy Daughter. Thus was the divine Princess named by the holy Trinity: In heaven on the day of her nativity, and on earth after eight days. This name was written on the list of other names when her mother presented herself in the temple according to the law, as I shall relate farther on. This was the birth like to which none had been before, and the like of which cannot happen again among mere creatures. This was the most blessed birth of which nature was capable, for by it an Infant came into existence whose entrance into the world was not only free from all the impurities of sin, but who was more pure and holy than the highest Seraphim. The birth of Moses was celebrated because of the beauty and handsomeness of the infant (Ex. 2:2), but all his beauty was only corruptible and apparent. But O how beautiful is our great Child (Cant. 7:6)! O how beautiful! She is entirely beautiful and most sweet in her delights, since She possesses all grace and beauty without lacking any. The laughter and joy of the house of Abraham was the birth of the promised Isaac (Gen. 21:6), conceived by a sterile mother; yet this birth did not have greater grandeur than the participation and prefigurement of the birth of our infant Queen, toward whom all that joy of Abraham was heading. If that birth was admirable and of such joy for the family of the Patriarch because it was as it were a foreshadowing of the birth of sweetest Mary, then heaven and earth must rejoice at her birth, since through her Son She was to bring the restoration of the ruins of heaven and sanctification to the world. When Noah was born his father Lamech was consoled (Gen. 5:29), because in that son God had provided a progenitor of the human race in the ark and assured a restoration of the blessings which the sins of men had forfeited. But all this happened merely as a type to foreshadow the birth of this Child, who was to be the true Reparatrix, being the mystical Ark which contained the new and true Noah and which drew Him down from heaven who was to fill with benediction all the inhabitants of the earth. O blessed birth! O joyful nativity, the most pleasing to the blessed Trinity in all the ages of the past, the joy of the angels, the relief of sinners, the delight of the just, and the singular consolation of all the holy souls in limbo! (New English Edition of The Mystical City of God, Chapter XXI .)
Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., the great scholarly defender of The Mystical City of God, provided the following description in The Liturgical Year of this wonderful feast day, drawing upon a reading in today's Divine Office from the great advocate of Our Lady in the Twelfth Century, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux:
‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary, 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 whole 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 by storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, turn not thine eyes away from the shining of this star if thou wouldst not 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 toward Mary. If, troubled by the enormity of thy crimes, ashamed of thy guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, thou beginnest to 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 failest not; shielded by her, thou fearest not; guided by her, thou growest not weary; favoured by her, thou reachest the goal. And thus does thou experience I thyself how good is that saying: And the Virgin’s name was Mary.’
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.
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 ofhyperdulia 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 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 well 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 name of Jesus, of which Saint Bernardine 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 honor of the name of Mary, while the Franciscan Order had the privilege for the adorable name of Jesus. The reason of this is that he memory of the sacred name included in the feast of the Circumcision, seemed to the prudence of the Pontiffs to suffice. From the same motive we find that the feast of the most holy name of Mary extended to the universal Chrch in the year 1683, and that of the holy name of Jesus not 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, form the power of the Crescent, the venerable Innocent XI. made this feast the memorial of universal gratitude to the liberatix of the west. . . .
All the delight of heaven, all the hopes of the earth, are centred on the cradle where Mary sleeps, while her heart is watching before God. Wisdom praises her own self; by the blessed daughter of Anne and Joachim, the loving preference shown by that divine Wisdom from the beginning of the world, is already justified; for ever more it will be her delight to with the children of men. The chosen vine, the vine of the Peaceful One is before us, announcing, by its fragrant blossom, the divine grape, whose juice, pressed out in the wine-press of the cross, will give fruitfulness to every soul, and will inebriate earth and heaven. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Time After Pentecost, Book V, pp. 171-173; pp. 175-176.)
We need to invoke the Holy Name of Mary in these perilous times, something that, as noted by Dom Prosper Gueranger just above, was done by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the great defender of Our Lady's holy honor, noted in the Twelth Century. I am going to reprise that passage because it should provide us with both strength of soul and consolation for us in the midst of the insanities of the worlds of Modernity and Modernism that have ejected the true Faith in favor of the works and the false beliefs of man:
It is said: And the virgin's name was Mary. Let us speak a few words upon this name, which signifieth, being interpreted, Star of the Sea, and suiteth very well the Maiden Mother, who may very meetly be likened unto a star. A star giveth forth her rays without any harm to herself, and the Virgin brought forth her Son without any hurt to her virginity. The light of a star taketh nothing away from the star itself, and the birth of her offspring took nothing away from the Virginity of Mary. She is that noble star which was to come out of Jacob, Num. xxiv. 17, whose brightness still sheddeth lustre upon all the earth, whose rays are most brilliant in heaven, and shine even unto hell, lighting up earth midway, and warming souls rather than bodies, fostering good and scaring away evil. She, I say, is a clear and shining star, twinkling with excellencies, and resplendent with example, needfully set to look down upon the surface of this great and wide sea.
Thou, whosoever thou art, that knowest thyself to be here not so much walking upon firm ground, as battered to and fro by the gales and storms of this life's ocean, if thou wouldest not be overwhelmed by the tempest, keep thine eyes fixed upon this star's clear shining. If the hurricanes of temptation rise against thee, or thou art running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star, call on Mary. If the waves of pride, or ambition, or slander, or envy toss thee, look to the star, call on Mary. If the billows of anger or avarice, or the enticements of the flesh beat against thy soul's bark, look to Mary. If the enormity of thy sins trouble thee, if the foulness of thy conscience confound thee, if the dread of judgment appall thee, if thou begin to slip into the deep of despondency, into the pit of despair, think of Mary.
In danger, in difficulty, or in doubt, think on Mary, call on Mary. Let her not be away from thy mouth or from thine heart, and that thou mayest not lack the succour of her prayers, turn not aside from the example of her conversation. If thou follow her, thou wilt never go astray. If thou pray to her, thou wilt never have need to despair. If thou keep her in mind, thou wilt never wander. If she hold thee, thou wilt never fall. If she lead thee, thou wilt never be weary. If she help thee, thou wilt reach home safe at the last and so thou wilt prove in thyself how meetly it is said And the virgin's name was Mary. (Here ends St Bernard.)
Particular honours were already paid to this worshipful name in divers parts of the Christian world, but the Bishop of Rome, Innocent XI., ordered this Feast in honour of it to be held every year throughout the whole Church, upon the Lord's Day within the Octave of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as an everlasting thanksgiving for the great blessing that, under her protection, the brutal Sultan of the Turks, who was trampling upon the necks of the Christian population, was thoroughly beaten before the walls of Vienna, (upon the 12th day of September, in the year 1683.) (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, as found in Matins, Divine Office, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.)
Yes, the Holy Name of Mary must be on our own lips and in our own minds and hearts at all times. All times. Especially now, a time when men who have offended God and His Sacred Deposit of Faith greatly by breaking the First and Second Commandments with their praise of false religions and their participation in "ecumenical prayer" gatherings are seeking to defend the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. We need to go to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help keep us steadfast in our refusal to be drawn into this tragic farce that some people believe represents the "conservatives" versus the "ultra-progressives." As I noted nearly five years ago now, there are No Good Guys or Bad Guys, Just Shades of Revolutionaries.
We must, therefore, promote the Holy Name of Mary by praying the Rosary with fervor, trusting in the Holy Name of Mary, our dear Blessed Mother, to wipe away the pestilences of Modernism and of all other false religions, including Mohammedanism. Rather than wasting our time in silly chat rooms or discussion forums, we should be praying the Rosary at every opportunity, making reparation for our own sins and praying fervently for the Triumph of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart as the fruit of the fulfillment of her Fatima Message. We must help all of the people God puts into our lives on a daily basis to fall deeply in love with Our Lady and to impress upon them the importance of total Marian Consecration in order that the sweetness of her Holy Name will fall so very naturally and with tenderness from their lips and all occasions.
Mary is our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
May we, the poor banished children of Eve, continue to give her the public honor and glory that are due her as the Mother of God, the Ark of the New Covenant, the House of Gold, the Gate of Heaven.
May we, consecrated totally to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, give to her all of our sorrows and joys so that her Fatima Message, which has been ignored for so long, will be fulfilled sooner rather than later, ushering in the Reign of Mary, signified by the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and of Christendom the world.
The Reign of Mary will be an era in which all men, women and children will exult in her glories and will proclaim with love from their lips at all times:
Ave Maria! Ave Maria! Salve Regina! Salve Regina!
We must never waver in our trust in the Holy Name of Mary as we place our hope in her, she who is our life, our sweetness, and, of course, our hope.
Ave Maria! Salve Regina! Vivat Maria Regina! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us, especially on your feast day today!
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Mary
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.
Heavenly Father, of Whom Mary is the Daughter, have mercy on us.
Eternal Word, of Whom Mary is the Mother, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, of Whom Mary is the spouse, have mercy on us.
Divine Trinity, of Whom Mary is the Handmaid, have mercy on us.
Mary , Mother of the Living God, pray for us.
Mary, daughter of the Light Eternal, pray for us.
Mary, our light, pray for us.
Mary, our sister, pray for us.
Mary, flower of Jesse, pray for us.
Mary , issue of kings, pray for us.
Mary, chief work of God, pray for us.
Mary, the beloved of God, pray for us.
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, pray for us.
Mary, all fair, pray for us, pray for us.
Mary, light in darkness, pray for us.
Mary, our sure rest, pray for us.
Mary, house of God, pray for us.
Mary, sanctuary of the Lord, pray for us.
Mary, altar of the Divinity, pray for us.
Mary, Virgin Mother, pray for us.
Mary, embracing thy Infant God, pray for us.
Mary, reposing with Eternal Wisdom, pray for us.
Mary, ocean of bitterness, pray for us.
Mary, Star of the Sea, pray for us.
Mary, suffering with thine only Son, pray for us.
Mary, pierced with a sword of sorrow, pray for us.
Mary, torn with a cruel wound, pray for us.
Mary, sorrowful even to death, pray for us.
Mary, bereft of all consolation, pray for us.
Mary, submissive to the law of God, pray for us.
Mary, standing by the Cross of Jesus, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady, pray for us.
Mary, Our Queen, pray for us.
Mary, Queen of glory, pray for us.
Mary, glory of the Church Triumphant, pray for us.
Mary, Blessed Queen, pray for us.
Mary, advocate of the Church Militant, pray for us.
Mary, Queen of Mercy, pray for us.
Mary, consoler of the Church Suffering, pray for us.
Mary, exalted above the Angels, pray for us.
Mary, crowned with twelve stars, pray for us.
Mary, fair as the moon, pray for us.
Mary, bright as the sun, pray for us.
Mary, distinguished above all, pray for us.
Mary, seated at the right hand of Jesus, pray for us.
Mary, our hope, pray for us.
Mary, our sweetness, pray for us.
Mary, glory of Jerusalem, pray for us.
Mary, joy of Israel, pray for us.
Mary, honor of our people, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Dolors, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of La Trappe, pray for us.
Mary, Our Lady of Divine Providence, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord Jesus.
Son of Mary , hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.
V. I will declare thy name unto my brethren.
R. I will praise thee in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Us Pray.
O Almighty God, Who beholdest Thy servants earnestly desirous of placing themselves under the shadow of the name and protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, that by her charitable intercession, we may be delivered from all evil on earth, and may arrive at everlasting joys in Heaven, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen