The Most Holy Name of Mary
O Dulcis Virgo Maria
O Sweet Virgin Mary!
How Sweet is the Name of Mary in Life and in Death
“The great name of Mary, which was given to the divine mother, was not found on earth, neither was it invented by the mind or will of men, as were all other names that are in use among them; but it came from heaven, and was given to the Virgin by divine ordinance, as St. Jerome, St Epiphanius, St. Antoninus and others attest. The name of Mary was drawn from the treasury of the divinity, as Richard of St. Laurence says “De thesauro divinitatis Mariae nomen evolvitur.” From the treasury of the divinity, oh Mary, came forth thy excellent and admirable name; for the Holy Trinity, the same author goes on to say, gave to thee this name, next to the name of thy Son, superior to every name, and attached to it such majesty and power, that when it is uttered, all in heaven, earth and hell must fall and venerate it….
“The enamoured St. Bernard, too, addressing his good mother with tenderness, says to her: “Oh great, oh merciful Mary, most holy Virgin, worthy of all praise, thy name is so sweet and lovely that it cannot be spoken without enkindling love to thee and to God in the heart of him who pronounces it; the thought of it alone is enough to console thy lovers, and inflame them with a far greater love to thee. If riches are a consolation to the poor, because by them they are relieved of their miseries, oh how much more, says Richard of St. Laurence, does thy name console us sinners, oh Mary; far more than the riches of earth it relieves us in the troubles of the present life.
“In a word, they name, oh mother of God, is full of grace and divine blessings, as St. Methodius says. And St. Bonaventure affirms that thy name cannot be pronounced but brings some grace to him who devoutly utters it. So great is the virtue of thy name, oh most compassionate Virgin, says the Idiot, that no one can pronounce it, however hardened, however desponding may be his heart, and not find it wonderfully softened; for it is thou who dost console sinners with the hope of pardon and of grace.
“Thy most sweet name, according to St. Ambrose, is a sweet ointment, which breathes the fragrance of divine grace. The saint thus invokes the divine mother: May this oil of salvation descend into the depths of our soul; by which he intends to say; Oh Lady, remind us often to pronounce thy name with love and confidence; for thus to name thee, either is a sign that we already possess divine grace, or it is an earnest that we shall soon recover it…
“…the devils as Thomas à Kempis affirms, are in such fear of the queen of heaven that at the sound of her great name they flee from him who pronounces it as from burning fire. The Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget that there is no sinner living so cold in divine love, that if he invokes her holy name, with the resolution to amend, the devil will not instantly depart from him. And she at another time assured her of this, telling her that all the demons so greatly venerate and fear her name, that when they hear it pronounced they immediately release the soul which they held in their chains.”
“And as the rebel angels depart from sinners who invoke the name of Mary, thus, on the contrary, our Lady herself told St. Bridget, that the good angels draw more closely around those just souls who devoutly pronounce it.”
From “The Glories of Mary” by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church.
Art for this post on the most holy name of Mary: Madonna with Sleeping Child, Andrea Mantega, between 1465 and 1470, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; Vierge au jardinet [Virgin in the Garden], unknown Rhenish Master, 1st quarter of 16th century, PD-Worldwide; both Wikimedia Commons.