Rare is the month that does not have a feast day dedicated to Mary, Our Lady.
On this Christmas Day, she figures prominently in every Nativity scene but December contains her great Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th; and December 12th is the special Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, so important in the evangelization of Spanish America and beloved of millions on our continent. Just a few years ago, the memorial of Our Lady of Loreto was added to the Church’s calendar for December 10th.
From the very beginning Mary has been at the center of the Church’s life, and the life of individual believers. Centuries of Faith and love have raised great cathedrals and little chapels in her honor. Title after title given to her and added to her Litany, express in doctrine and in poetry the mind and the heart of the Catholic Faith and civilization. Christian faith with no place for her in mind and heart is a sad, truncated, and eventually dry thing.
History tells us that one of the oldest non-Scriptural prayers (going back to the third century) is the Sub Tuum Praesidium…We fly to Thy patronage O holy Mother of God.
As the centuries wore on other hymns and prayers were added: the extension of the Gospel verses that comprise the Hail Mary; the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen), the powerful prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Memorare; and many more.
She has been loved and venerated by men and women of every type, age, and condition. A telling testimony of this is the fact that every evening Columbus’ three ships on his first voyage to the New World would close up formation, and the Admiral and his rough men of the sea would sing the Salve Regina and the Ave Maris Stella to her as the “Star of the Sea.” In that hymn too Our Lady is asked Iter para tutam… Prepare a safe journey for wayfarers, both on sea, and through life.
In our own day, in the often rough world of the “Twitterverse” (the social media app “Twitter”) it was asked what prayer did people say in response to the frequent requests for prayers from “Tweeters” for various needs. An amazing number replied that the “Hail Mary” was their “go to prayer.”
After all, even sportscasters unwitting pay tribute to her when they refer to football’s famous “Hail Mary pass.”
So, let there not be one of us who does not AT LEAST say a Hail Mary every day!
By the prayers of the Holy Mother of God, O Savior, save us!
God bless you all on this most blessed Day!