A Mighty Name

By Chris Sparks

When in doubt; when in danger; when in fear; when in need, call on the Holy Name of Mary.

Why? Because that's how the story of our salvation begins - with an angel, visiting a virgin at the behest of God, saying, "Hail, Mary!" At the height of our need, an angel begins the victory over sin and death and hell by saying the name of Mary.

And so, throughout the history of the Church, when the need was greatest and the age was darkest, the popes and saints have led the Church in saying, "Hail, Mary!"

Through her body came the Savior. Through her heart, mind, and grace-filled strength came the "yes" to the plan of God that opened the door of history to the Creator of all. Through Mary comes Christ Victor, and so through Mary will all the triumphs of the Church ever come.

The feast of the Holy Name of Mary, celebrated on Sept. 12, was extended to the universal Church in the wake of the victory of Jan Sobieski over the Turkish invaders at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, a victory won after he asked her intercession at the Sanctuary on Jasna Gora and received Mary's Son in Holy Communion.

Similarly, we've received the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because of the victory won over a jihadist armada at the Battle of Lepanto on Oct. 7, 1571, after the Holy Father had appealed to all the faithful to pray the Rosary for victory. The admiral of the fleet, Don Juan of Austria, had aboard his ship a copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, stemming from the apparitions to St. Juan Diego in 1531.

Where Our Lady goes, there God triumphs. Where her name is pronounced with love and trust, there the Body of Christ wins the victory. When the Christian faithful say, "Hail, Mary," there the Mother of God directs her powerful intercession and total enmity with the devil.

So as the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, let us all turn with loving hearts and deep trust to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Let's all learn about her and consider consecrating our lives to her. Let us ask for her help in our every need, and beseech her to lead us all to her Son. Let us with one voice say:


Hail, Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of death. Amen.


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