Celebrate Mary!

We, as Catholics, are blessed to celebrate the lives of those faith-filled Christians who have walked this earth and struggled in their journey to God just like we do each day. Saints can inspire and bless us with their own stories of faith.  We can relate to their trials, sufferings and difficulties.  We can take comfort in their lives of hope and their prayers for us.

None of these saints are closer to God than Christ’s mother, Mary. Formed without sin, God chose Mary to be a beacon for us.  A bright light to help us see the way to Christ more clearly.  Her motherly prayers for us are constant, devout and filled with a deep love for us.  And like at the wedding at Cana, she gives us instructions for our lives, “Do whatever He tells you to do.”

So it is no surprise that God has allowed his most beloved daughter Mary, the gift to appear to us here on earth – to guide, inspire and pray for us. She whispers to her son on our behalf.  She loves us.

This month, we are blessed by many days dedicated to Mary. Please allow me to share a few of them with you!

September 8 – Birth of MaryMary2

                        The Birth of Mary has been celebrated since the 6th Century.  With her birth, God allowed a means by which our Savior was to be brought into the world.  Born to barren Anna and Joachim, Mary was a prayer answered for her parents and for the salvation of the world.  St. Augustine comments on Mary’s birth by saying “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”

In honoring the birth of Christ’s mother, we honor and worship Christ himself.

September 8 – Our Lady of CharityOur Lady of Charity

In the 1600’s, two brothers and their slave were headed to the salt mines of Cuba to supply the salt to preserve the meat of their village.  As they traveled by boat, a great storm arose but their small vessel was not destroyed.  Instead, a small white bundle floating on a piece of wood came toward them on the water.  The bundle was a statue of the Blessed Mother holding the child Jesus and on the board was written “I am the Virgin of Charity”.  Although the storm raged around the bundle, it was completely dry.

In returning to their home, a chapel was built to honor the image of Our Lady.  In 1916, Pope Benedict XV declared our Lady of Charity patroness of Cuba.

September 12 – Most Holy Name of MaryMost Holy Name of Mary

The name of Mary is so honorable that if said devoutly can be a prayer in itself.  Richard of St. Laurence stated “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.” He continues, “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.”

With the praying of Mary’s name, graces can be granted, devils flee, and prayers and requests are taken to our Lord and Savior.

 

September 15 – Our Lady of SorrowsOur Lady of Sorrows

Mary underwent so many sufferings in her life that in 1244, an order of monks first         celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows to help them focus more on the sorrows that she             experienced in her life.

  • Prophecy of Simeon – when he told her upon presenting her infant son in the temple that her heart would be pierced.
  • Flight into Egypt – leaving all she knew, loved ones and home, to heed an angel’s warning
  • Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days – not being able to find her beloved lost son in a big city
  • Mary meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary – she beheld her son, covered in blood and wounds,   carrying a cross to his death
  • Mary Watches the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
  • Mary receives the Body of Jesus down from the Cross
  • Mary watches as Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

In meditating on her suffering as a mother, we can see how much God loved us to send                                               His only son to die for us.

September 19 – Our Lady of La SaletteOur Lady of LaSalette

In 1846, Mary appeared to two young children in the French Alps.  Melanie Mathieu, age 14, and Maximin Giraurd, age 11, were tending cows when Mary appeared to them in a bright light, brighter than the sun.  As they came closer to Mary, they could see tears streaming down her face.  She forewarned that if people did not repent, the crops would fail and a great famine would follow.

She said that she had been holding back the hand of her Son with her prayers for those who did not honor the Sabbath by working on Sundays, not attending mass, and using the Lord’s name in vain.  But she grew weary of holding back the strong hand of her Son.

She requested that the children and all those in the surrounding villages pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary at night and in the morning.

The stream that now flows at the site of her appearance is a great source of healing for faith-filled pilgrims.

September 24 – Our Lady of MercyOur Lady of Mercy

In 1218, Mary appeared to St. Peter Nolasco to bolster the faith of persecuted Christians.           She told St. Peter Nolasco to find “brave, generous, unselfish men and send them into the lands      where the children of the Faith are suffering.”

In response to Mary’s instruction, he established an Order, at her request, dedicated to               visiting and freeing Christians in captivity.  Thousands of Christians were freed by this order.

September 24 – Our Lady of Walsingham, EnglandOur Lady of Walsingham

In the 12th century, in Walsingham, England, Mary appeared to Our Lady appeared to Richeldis de Faverches, the lady of the manor, and gave her a vision of the Holy House – the home of the Holy family in Nazareth.  Mary asked for a shrine to be built to be “England’s Nazareth” as a pilgrimage location to give hope and well-being to the people of England.  Springs of water have been sources of healing and renewal at the shrine.

September 27 – Our Lady Star of the Sea

Sailors have long taken Our Lady Star of the Sea to high honor as a sign of hope and        safety on the sea.  Since the year 400 A.D., Mary has been honored with this title as such men of    God as St. Jerome, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and Pope Pius XII.

Just as the North Star helps seafaring travelers find their way home, so too does Mary light the way to Christ and our eternal salvation with God.

Our Lady Star of the Sea

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