Saints of the Canon – The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

Blessed Virgin MaryThe Blessed Virgin, Queen of Martyrs, heads the list with the title “Mother of God” which was formally bestowed upon her at the general council convoked by Pope Saint Celestine at Ephesus, the city of the Blessed Virgin, in 431, and held in the Cathedral dedicated to her honour. The heresy of Nestorius, who said there were two persons in Christ, divine and human, and that Mary was the mother only of the human, was condemned and the title “Mother of God” was approved. This Pope Celestine sent Saint Patrick to Ireland in 432, the year following Ephesus.

Mary’s name is not mentioned simply as the other names are, but with great dignity: she is the “glorious,” the “ever virgin.” Mary’s name is inseparable from the Sacrifice of Christ. He came first in emptying Himself. Mary comes next for she gave more than Apostles and martyrs, and thus understands the sacrifice of giving. She “stood by the Cross of Jesus,” and great as the sea was then her sorrow. She is justly called the Queen of Martyrs.

Whenever a soul comes to God in Holy Mass he does so in communion with Mary. Let us bring Mary with us whenever we come to Mass. She knows that the more a soul gives itself into His hands, the more perfectly does He work for its sanctity. No one has abandoned herself to Him as Mary has. No one has placed fewer obstacles in the way of His Will than Mary. She knows me far better than I know myself. She knows why I am unwilling to be subject to Him, why I hesitate to surrender myself to Him, and she will help me to beat down the resistance I put in His way. When He sends suffering and crosses to open our hearts to the height and depth and width and length of His Love for us, and we are reluctant to receive them as gifts from Him, Mary will strengthen us with a Mother’s love to accept them.

Never come to Mass without calling upon her in words such as the priest says in the prayers preparing for Mass:

“O Mother of piety! O Mother of Mercy, most blessed Virgin Mary, I, a wretched and unworthy sinner, cling to you with all the affection of my heart, and I appeal to your piety, that as you stood by the Cross of your Son, so you will assist me, poor sinner that I am, and all the priests who here, and throughout the world, offer the holy sacrifice today so that it may be a worthy and acceptable offering in the sight of the Blessed Trinity,”

– from The Saints of the Canon, by Monsignor John T. McMahon, M.A., Ph.D; Australian Catholic Truth Society, 1958