A feast that was suppressed following the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council, St John Paul II restored this memoria in honour of the Holy Name of Mary, and thank God he did, for it is an important feast, particularly for us in these times.
As children of Mary the Church encourages us to call upon the Name of our Mother, and what a beautiful name it is. There is that song from Westside Story which celebrates the name Maria - the name of the girl the young man is in love with. If such praise to due to that name because an ordinary girl possesses it, how much greater praise is due to it when it is the name of the Mother of God, the Perfect Disciple of the Lord, our Queen. This feast is important for us because it encourages us to wax lyrical, to sing, to muse and meditate on the Sinless One who possesses it.
Of course the origins of this feast are also important for us today. It was instituted by Pope Innocent IX to celebrate the victory of King Jan Sobieski and the Christian armies over the Turks at the Siege of Vienna in 1683. If it were not for that victory we in Europe would now be Muslim. Invoking the name of Mary the armies went forth to relieve the Siege and save Europe from invasion. It was, in a way, the last stand, the Battle of Britain of the 17th century. Of course in our secular age such victories are forgotten. I have said before that every city in Europe should have a statue of Jan Sobieski. Poland has given us many great men and women, and among them two giants who saved Europe: Jan from the Turks, John Paul from Communism.
In these troubled times, this feast should be an encouragement to us to call upon the name of our Holy Mother as we are once again threatened by violence and invasion. As Christians we cherish the virtue of hope, Our Lady, who intercedes for us, can be seen as a model of hope, Our Lady of Holy Hope, that title our own St Charles of Mount Argus loved. Mary is our mother, the mother of hope, who reaches out to her children who are in danger and in need. May this feast remind us of this and urge us to commend ourselves to her help, her prayers and her mighty protection.
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