September Spotlight: The Blessed Mother Mary

September 1, 2011

The Pastor's Page

Stained Glass Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary is honored by three special feast days during the month of September:  the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8, the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 12, and Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15.  These Marian feasts days punctuate the liturgical calendar with timely reminders of the key role that the Mary played in our salvation as the mother of the Savior, and provide multiple opportunities to honor her.  The words that Jesus spoke to the Beloved Disciple he speaks to us, “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:27).  Devotion to Mary is right and proper because Jesus asked us to regard her as our spiritual mother, and when we focus on Mary, she leads us to her Son.

September 8 is the feast of the Birth or Nativity of Mary.  Mary’s birth was the dawn of hope and salvation to the world.  She was born without sin, full of grace, the favored one, blessed among women, so she might be the sacred vessel and worthy mother of the Son of God.  Mary’s birth is cause for great joy and brings us closer to lasting peace.

September 12 is the memorial of the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a new celebration recently added to the liturgical calendar.  Mary is holy because she loved God with her whole heart; was well schooled in her faith by her mother, St. Anne; worshipped regularly in the Temple and synagogue; placed her complete faith and trust in God; accepted her special calling; reached out with such generous love to her relative Elizabeth; prayed so eloquently as seen in her canticle (Lk 1:46-55); lived humbly; was full of the Holy Spirit; was such a loving mother, such a devoted companion to her Son on his missionary travels, and offered such good advice to believers:  “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).  Mary is our pattern of holiness.  Her exceptional holiness calls us to greater holiness in our own lives.

September 15 is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Simeon told Mary that her heart would be pierced by a sword (Lk 2:35), and it was pierced on Good Friday when she stood heartbroken, overwhelmed with sorrow, at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25).  Mary shared in her Son’s suffering and death.  May we, like Mary, “be glad to share in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Pt 4:13), so we might make up in our own lives whatever is lacking in the sufferings of Christ (Col 1:24).  Then we, like Jesus who ascended to heaven, and Mary who was assumed to heaven, might share in their glory.  Furthermore, when Mary suffered with Jesus, she demonstrated her compassionate love.  May we, inspired by her example, be more compassionate with one another.

Please, do not let the month of September pass by without doing something to honor our Blessed Mother Mary.

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About Father Michael Van Sloun

Father Michael A. Van Sloun is the pastor of Saint Bartholomew of Wayzata, MN. Ministerial interests include weekly Bible study, articles on theological topics, religious photography, retreats on Cross spirituality, and pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

View all posts by Father Michael Van Sloun
  • guest

    I was born on Sept. 12 but didn’t know that it was the memorial of the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary until within the past few years, even though the memorial has apparently been around since at least the mid twentieth century (and I am a lot younger than that). Maybe I should learn more about this devotion?