Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

What's in a name?  Traditionally--though there's apparently not much hard data to back it up--the name of Mary (Miryam in Hebrew, Maria in Latin) has been said to mean, "star of the sea."  Reflecting on that understanding, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) movingly writes:
"Take not your eyes from the light of this star if you would not be overwhelmed by the waves; if the storms of temptation arise, if you are thrown upon the rocks of affliction, look to the star, invoke Mary. Are you confounded at the enormity of your sins, are you ashamed at the defilement of your conscience, are you terrified on account of the dreadful judgment, so that you begin to be overpowered by sadness, or even to sink into the abyss of despair, then turn your thoughts to Mary. In dangers, in distress, in doubt, call on Mary. She will not be far from your mouth, or your heart; and that you may obtain her intercession omit not to imitate her conduct. When you follow her, you will not go astray; when you invoke her, you will no longer be in doubt; when she supports you, you will not fall; when she leads you, you will surely come to eternal life, and will find by your own experience that she is justly called Maria--that is, Star of the Sea."

On a side note...I'll always recall that Our Lady kindly shared her birthday with another alma mater of mine: Wadhams Hall Seminary-College in Ogdensburg, NY.  Following a diocesan-wide novena for vocations, Bishop Joseph Conroy opened Wadhams Hall with its first nine students on September 8, 1924.  After nearly 80 proud years, the seminary closed its doors in May 2002.

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