Honoring Mary’s name in the liturgy goes back to the sixteenth century, when individual churches celebrated the feast of the Name of Mary. In 1683, Pope Innocent XI made September 12 a feast of the universal Church to honor Mary’s name and to thank her for her protection.
Mary’s name means “star of the sea” in Hebrew. Just as sailors caught in a storm will use the stars to keep their coarse, we can look to Mary as our “star” who keeps us on the path that Jesus marked out for us. If we get off track in our life, we can look to Mary and she will guide us back to Jesus and his Church.
St. Bernard wrote: “As you struggle through the stormy sea of life, do not turn away from Mary, star of the sea. If the winds of temptation blow your little boat, or if you are headed toward the rocks of suffering, look at the star—call Mary! If you are tossed by waves of ambition or envy, look at the star—call Mary! If anger or greed rocks the little boat of your heart, look at Mary! If you are getting discouraged because of your sins, think of Mary! In dangers and difficulties, remember Mary—call Mary! Do not let her name be far from your lips. Keep the thought of her fixed in your heart! She will keep you from losing your way. She will protect you so you have nothing to fear. She will guide you to Jesus, your Savior!”
When we experience sadness, doubt, or disappointment, do we think of Mary and call to her? Do we believe that Mary truly loves us and wants us to be happy? How is Mary leading us closer to Jesus?
-From Daughters of St. Paul