Whatever interpretation of the name of Mary we may accept, whether it means bitterness, the lady of the sea, or beloved of God, it is still the name of our Mother in Heaven, the name which was first on the lips of the divine Child, the name which after that of Jesus holds all our hope of salvation. Many saints, especially St. Bernard and, St. Gabriele dell’ Addolorata, recognize in the most sweet name of Mary the virtues and prerogatives which the Doctors of the Church find in the name of the Savior, such as light, strength, sweetness and protection. Therefore, the devout Christian desires above all things to pronounce the holy names of Jesus and Mary with his last breath before going forth to behold their countenances. St. Pius X granted great indulgences to those who should make use of this pious invocation.
We venerate the name of Mary because it belongs to her who is the Mother of God, Theotokos, the holiest of creatures, the Queen of Heaven and earth, the Mother of Mercy. The object of the feast is the Holy Virgin bearing the name of Mirjam (Mary). The feast commemorates all the privileges given to Mary by God and all the graces we have received through her intercession and mediation. In reverence we bow the head slightly whenever we hear or speak her name a little less bow than when we do the same for her Divine Son’s name.
The feast was first was instituted in 1513 at Cuenca in Spain, and assigned with proper Office to September 15, the octave day of Mary’s Nativity. However, after the reform of the Breviary by Pope St. Pius V, by a Decree of Pope Sixtus V on January 16, 1587, it was transferred to September 17. In 1622 it was extended to the Archdiocese of Toledo by Pope Gregory XV. After 1625 the Congregation of Rites hesitated for a while before authorizing its further spread. But it was celebrated by the Spanish Trinitarians in 1640 (Ordo Hispan., 1640). On November 15, 1658, the feast was granted to the Oratory of Cardinal Berulle under the title: Solemnitas Gloriosae Virginis, dupl. cum. oct., 17 Sept. Bearing the original title, SS. Nominis B.M.V., it was granted to all Spain and the Kingdom of Naples on January 26, 1671. After the siege of Vienna and the glorious victory of Jan Sobieski over the Turks on September 12, 1683, the feast was extended to the universal Church by Pope Innocent XI, and assigned to the Sunday after the Nativity of Mary by a Decree of November 25, 1683 as a Double Major (duplex majus). It was granted to Austria as a Double of the Second Class on August 1, 1654.
According to a Decree of July 8, 1908, whenever this feast cannot be celebrated on its proper Sunday on account of the occurrence of some feast of a higher rank, it must be kept on September 12, the day on which the victory of Sobieski is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology.
The Calendar of the Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, O.S.B., in France, of the year 1827, has the feast with a special Office on September 25. The feast of the Holy Name of Mary, is the patronal feast of the Clerics Regular of the Pious Schools (Piarists) and of the Society of Mary (Marianists), in both cases with a proper office. In 1666 the Discalced Carmelites received the faculty to recite the Office of the Name of Mary four times a year (duplex). At Rome one of the twin churches at the Forum Trajani is dedicated to the Name of Mary. In the Ambrosian Calendar of Milan the feast of the Holy Name of Mary is assigned to September 11.
INTROIT Psalm 44: 13,15,16
All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance: after her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. v. Glory be…etc
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that Thy faithful, happy under the invocation and protection of the most holy Virgin Mary, may, by her dear intercession, be delivered from all evils on earth and be worthy to attain unto eternal joys in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Sunday XVI Post Pentecost
May Your grace, we beseech You, O Lord, ever go before us and follow us, and may it make us ever intent upon good works. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Wisdom 24: 23-31
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that harkeneth to me shall not be confounded, and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
Thou art blessed and venerable, O Virgin Mary, who with purity unstained was found to be the Mother of our Savior. V. Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world was unable to contain enclosed Himself in thy womb, being made man. Alleluia, alleluia. V. After childbirth thou didst remain a virgin inviolate: Mother of God, intercede for us. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 1: 26-38
At that time, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Luke 1: 28, 42
Hail, Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
By Thy mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of blessed Mary, ever virgin, may this oblation profit us unto eternal and present prosperity and peace. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
Sunday XVI Post Pentecost
Cleanse us by this sacrifice, we beseech You, O Lord, and by the workings of Your mercy, make us worthy to receive it. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. That on the Festival of the blessed Virgin Mary, we should praise, bless and proclaim Thee. For she conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost; and losing not the glory of her virginity, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the Dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly Hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:
Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.
Lord, grant, we beseech Thee, that, having received the aids of our salvation, we may always and everywhere be protected by the patronage of Blessed Mary ever virgin, in veneration of whom we have made this offering to Thy majesty. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
Sunday XVI Post Pentecost
O Lord, we beseech You, graciously cleanse and renew our minds with the heavenly sacrament, so we may thereby also receive bodily help for the present as well as for the future. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PROPER LAST GOSPEL St Luke 14:1-11
At that time, when Jesus entered the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to take food, they watched Him. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had the dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath? But they remained silent. And He took and healed him and let him go. Then addressing them, He said, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him up on the Sabbath? And they could give Him no answer to these things. But He also spoke a parable to those invited, observing how they were choosing the first places at table, and He said to them, When you are invited to a wedding feast, do not recline in the first place, lest perhaps one more distinguished than you have been invited by him, and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Make room for this man’; and then you begin with shame to take the last place. But when you are invited go and recline in the last place; that when he who invited you comes in, he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher!’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who are at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.
Today’s Gospel reminds us, “Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Pride, says St. Thomas, is a vice by which man seeks to exalt himself beyond right reason above what he is; it is based on error and illusion. On the contrary, humility is founded upon truth. It is a virtue which tempers and restrains the soul, so that it does not pretend to be more than it really is. The humble soul accepts with complete submission the actual station which falls to it, and which is that assigned to it by God the supreme and infallible Truth. Humility is the virtue which our Lord sets before us in today’s Gospel. “After he had healed the man with the dropsy,” says St. Ambrose, “Jesus gives a lesson in humility.”
Seeing how the Pharisees chose the best places, He wanted to make them understand the spiritual disease from which they were suffering and so to encourage them to seek its cure. For this purpose He first heals an unfortunate man swollen with sickness and then veiling the lesson under a parable, seeks to cure the spiritual inflation with which the guests before Him and the majority of men are only too much afflicted. The world is given over to all the boastfulness and infatuation of pride, while humility is the absolute condition of entrance into the kingdom of God.
Let us, therefore, cast ourselves at the feet of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Father, too, so that from the boundless treasure of His divinity He may more and more send down upon us the Holy Ghost, whom He poured out on the Church at Pentecost and who unites us to our Lord by faith and love, that we may be filled with the fullness of God.
Source: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.