The Sweetness of the Name of Mary  during Life and at Death.

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The Sweetness of the Name of Mary
during Life and at Death.

by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

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 St. Jerome (De Nat. M. V.), St. Epiphanius (Or. de Praes. Deip.), St. 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 St. 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 St. 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.
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Saint Maurilius

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Saint Maurilius

Bishop of Angers
(336-426)

Saint Maurilius, closely associated with the early history of the church of France, was born near Milan, of an illustrious Christian family, in the year 336. He was later drawn to Tours by the virtues of Saint Martin, who had built a monastery in Milan, where he had undertaken to form young men to virtue and sacred studies. Maurilius was among them; but when the Arians drove Saint Martin, a stranger in Italy, from the city, he lost his beloved master. He remained for a time as cantor for Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan, but after the death of his father renounced his patrimony and went to Tours to rejoin Saint Martin; there the Apostle of Gaul ordained him a priest.
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Saint Guy of Anderlecht

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Saint Guy of Anderlecht

Hermit and Pilgrim
(† 1012)

Saint Guy was born at Anderlecht, a village near Brussels, in the tenth century. As a child he had two loves, the Church and the poor, and he wished to be himself among that special little flock of Christ, the poor. While still very young he visited and cared for the sick, and he was regarded by the villagers as a young Saint.

As he grew older, love of prayer increased in him in a prodigious manner. One day when he was praying in the church of Our Lady at Laeken, a short distance from Brussels, he manifested such devotion before Our Lady’s shrine that the priest, drawing him into conversation, prayed him to stay and serve the Church. Thenceforth his great joy was to be constantly in the church, sweeping the floor, polishing the altars, and cleansing the sacred vessels. He spent entire nights in the church in prayer. By day he still found time and means to befriend the poor, so that his almsgiving became famous throughout the entire region.
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The Battle of Vienna and the Most Holy Name of Mary

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The Battle of Vienna and the Most Holy Name of Mary

In 1683, the forces of the Holy League, under Poland’s King Jan Sobieski, roundly defeated the Mohammedan invaders at the Battle of Vienna. Here is a brief telling of that triumphant occasion by Gary Potter (in “Saint Mary of Victory – The Historical Role of Our Lady in the Armed Defense of the Faith”):

Fortuitously, the pope of the day, Innocent XI, had just brokered an alliance between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Poland, which was also menaced by the Mohammedans. When it became known that no fewer than 300,000 Turks were advancing on the imperial capital, Pope Innocent ordered that rosaries be recited in the religious houses and churches of Rome. The same prayers of supplication were offered throughout the Empire. Still, the situation was so dangerous that the imperial court left Vienna for Passau and took refuge there. Meantime, there were special devotions at the Capuchin Church in Vienna to Our Lady Help of Christians, whose famous picture hangs there. It would become the symbol of the victory over the Turks by Poland’s King John Sobieski when he arrived on the scene after a series of forced marches from Czestochowa. Continue reading

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

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Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

(Established in 1683)

This feast was established by Pope Innocent XI in 1683, that the faithful may in a particular manner recommend to God on this day, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the necessities of His Church, and return Him thanks for His gracious protection and numberless mercies.

What gave occasion to the institution of this feast was the desire of all Christendom for a solemn thanksgiving which would commemorate the deliverance of Vienna, obtained through the intercession of Our Lady, when the city was besieged by the Turks in 1683. An army of 550,000 invaders had reached the city walls and was threatening all of Europe. John Sobieski, King of Poland, came with a much smaller army to assist the besieged city during the octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and made ready for a great battle. This religious prince began by having a Mass celebrated, which he himself desired to serve, his arms in a cross. After receiving Communion with fervor, he rose at the close of the sacrifice and cried out: Let us march with confidence under the protection of Heaven and with the aid of the Most Holy Virgin! His hope was not disappointed; the Turks were struck with a sudden panic and fled in disorder. From that time the feast day has been celebrated during the octave of the Nativity of Our Lady.

Reflection: If we, like the Christians of Europe in the 17th century, desire to appease by our prayers the divine anger which our sins have justly provoked, we must join the tears of sincere compunction to a perfect conversion of our habits. The first grace we should beg of God is that He will dispose us to maintain at all times a spirit of worthy penance. And to the invocation of Jesus it is a pious and wholesome practice to join our recourse to the Blessed Virgin, that, through Her intercession, we may more readily obtain the effects of our petitions. For this reason devout souls, with great affection and confidence, honor the Holy Hearts and invoke the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).