“All generations to come will call me blessed.” Luke 1″48b
Today, September 12, the Church celebrates and reflects on the Holy Name of Mary.
According to custom, Our Lady’s parents would have named her eight days after her birth, like any other Hebrew girl. Most likely her parents had ordinary hopes for her. They would have the joy of raising a daughter who would love them, learn from them, live and play and pray with them. They likely had expectations for her of a future husband and family of her own.
All these things Mary did, but in an extraordinary way, and for a purpose no one knew.
Her mother and father fittingly named her Mary (Maryam or Miriam.) I wonder if they were thinking of the prophet Miriam, sister of Moses, who partnered with Moses and Aaron in leading his people to freedom through the Red Sea.
The Church sees the journey through the Red Sea as a metaphor prefiguring Baptism in Christ. This little one was a new Miriam, who would partner with her Son in His work of our Salvation.
I am enchanted by the fact that the origin of Mary’s name was most likely taken from ancient Egyptian; from mry “beloved” or mr “love.” She is beloved and her name is love. That reminds me of Romans 1:7, which greets the Christians of Rome as, “Beloved of God and called to holiness.”
In a way, every Christians’ name is “Love.”
The Son of Mary taught us that holiness is love.
As the Beloved Disciple said, “And we have come to know and believe in the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16
Blessed little Mary, I will take up your holy name, “Love,” many times each day. Come to me, and lead me through every challenge, singing of my victory. Today as I honor your childhood, inspire me to walk ahead through all that life brings, made brave for love by the companionship of your spirit. May I may live in love, live in God, and God in me. Help me to follow Jesus with faith and simplicity of heart.