Ave Maria…the invocation of the name of Mary is a powerful prayer…Ave Maria…every time we say it we cry out to our Mother. What mother doesn’t rush to the aid of her child when he or she cries out her name? Hail Mary. Not just a name, but a supreme gift of grace to us all…the gift of a mother who loves unconditionally, who loves always, who loves each and every one of her children given to her by God. Hail Mary, when we say it we unlatch the door and allow our mother in, when we say it we pick up the phone and converse with the greatest of human counselors, when we say it we acknowledge the reality of the presence of the “Woman” clothed with the Sun, with the moon under her feet, crowned with the stars who labors to see all of her children “birthed” into heaven. Mary….Mary….Mary. The Holy Name of….Mary.
This has become for me a very precious feast day. Once, when I was traveling on a personal pilgrimage alone, I was feeling achingly isolated, rejected and lost, literally thousands of miles from home. A terrible darkness had shrouded over me emotionally and spiritually. In a very poignant and unexpected way, Our Lady made her presence known to me on this date. It would involve an encounter with a little woman from Africa who looked like my grandmother and spoke no English, and a long plane ride home..this coming together would grow into a gentle, loving exchange between strangers…I didn’t realize it, but it was what my broken “pierced” heart had been aching for. Without fanfare or expectation, out of nowhere came the name of Mary, literally…a moment which illuminated for me the bright light of the Blessed Mother’s presence, and not just at that particular moment in time. Like the brightest star in the night sky, it became clear to me that she had been there truly, truly guiding me all along, even in the darkest moments of doubt and pain. That she had not, and would never, “leave me alone”. That I was indeed responding to HER call and in turn she had responded to mine. Mary. It was she who traveled with me on that journey and who would continue to do so in the days and years ahead. Mary.
Well, the entirety of this story is really for another time, I just wanted to share with those who may read this, that I, unqualified and without hesitation, with my whole unworthy heart, love Our Blessed Mother…I love “Mary”. I hope and pray you do too. If not, listen today for her name…call out to the one who is waiting…she WILL race to your aid. Mary. She is your mother, a gift to us all from her Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. A precious, precious gift. Do not toss her aside. She will never, ever leave you alone.
Father, in the video below, talks about the orgin of this feast day… it’s really quite a lovely homily.