THE HOLY NAME OF MARY
‘There is no other name on earth in heaven or in the underworld by which we can be saved, and that is the name of Jesus’, according to Scripture.
Yet Christians have always turned to Mary for help. We call on the Holy Name of Jesus for mercy, and on the Holy Name of Mary for help.
Indeed in the Rosary we call on the name of Mary 100 times as we pray Hail Mary and Holy Mary. Thus in the course of a given year if we recite the Rosary once a day, we utter Mary’s name 3,650 times. In three years that becomes over 10,000 times. Every decade of our lives, that becomes 36,500 times. We could go on, but that becomes 100,000 times every 10 years if you were to offer 15 decades each day. Of course the number really is hard to quantify because of the Angelus and the Memorare and other prayers we utter throughout our lives. And indeed we call on the name of Jesus our Lord at least 50 times in each rosary.
We know people ‘to see’ only and we know others by name only, but we really cannot get to know one another well unless we are introduced by name.
In Scripture calling someone by name denotes the formation of a relationship. God calls Abram ‘Abraham’, Sarai ‘Sarah’, and Jesus calls Simon Peter, and Saul becomes Paul.
Children learn Mummy and Daddy first by those simple pet names.
So we in fact strengthen our relationship of confidence in the intercessory role of Mary each time we utter her name. Let us try to become more conscious of this each time we mention her name in prayer. We strengthen the bond of love the more we call on her.
At the Annunciation Mary is referred to by name for the very first time: ‘and the virgin’s name was Mary. In praying to her in the words of the angel, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’, we fulfill the prophecy of Our Lady herself when she said in her Magnificat: ‘from henceforth all generations will call me blessed’.
At Fatima at the Cova da Iria, there was an echo and the children would love to shout out ‘Maria’ and little did they know that Mary would come in person in response to their many childish utterances.
In recent times the Popes have emphasized Mary as ‘hearer of the WORD’. She is blessed because she ‘heard the word of God and kept it.’ She ‘pondered these things in her heart’ at Bethlehem and in the Temple. This is in contrast to the attitude of those described by St James in his letter comparing those who treat the word of God lightly to those who look at their reflection in a mirror and instantly forget it.
Now let us ask Mary to help us to hear the word of God and keep it as she did, as we utter the word, and the name of, Mary.