It is said: And the Virgin's name was Mary. Let us speak a few words upon this name, which signifieth, being interpreted, Star of the Sea, and suits very well the Maiden Mother, who may very meetly be likened unto a star. A star giveth forth her rays without any harm to herself, and the Virgin brought forth her Son without any hurt to her virginity. The light of a star taketh nothing away from the Vírginity of Mary. She is that noble star which was to come out of Jacob, whose brightness still sheds lustre upon all the earth, whose rays are most brilliant in heaven, and shine even unto hell, lighting up earth midway, and warming souls rather than bodies, fostering good and scaring away evil. She, I say, is a clear and shining star, twinkling with excellencies, and resplendent with example, needfully set to look down upon the surface of this great and wide sea.
O thou, whosoever thou art, that knowest thyself to be here not so much walking upon firm ground, as battered to and fro by the gales and storms of this life's ocean, if thou wouldest not be overwhelmed by the tempest, keep thine eyes fixed upon this star's clear shining. If the hurricanes of temptation rise against thee, or thou art running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star, call on Mary. If the waves of pride, or ambition, or slander, or envy toss thee, look to the star, call on Mary. If the billows of anger or avarice, or the enticements of the flesh beat against thy soul's bark, look to Mary. If the enormity of thy sins trouble thee, if the foulness of thy conscience confound thee, if the dread of judgment appal thee, if thou begin to slip into the deep of despondency, into the pit of despair, think of Mary.
In danger, in difficulty, or in doubt, think on Mary, call on Mary. Let her not be away from thy mouth or from thine heart, and that thou mayest not lack the succour of her prayers, turn not aside from the example of her conversation. If thou follow her, thou wilt never go astray. If thou pray to her, thou wilt never have need to despair. If thou keep her in mind, thou wilt never fall. If she lead thee, thou wilt never be weary. If she help thee, thou wilt reach home safe at the last―and so thou wilt prove in thyself how meetly it is said: And the Virgin's name was Mary. - Particular honours were already paid to this worshipful name in divers parts of the Christian world, but the Bishop of Rome, Innocent XI, ordered this Feast in honour of it to be held every year throughout the whole Church, as an everlasting thanksgiving for the great blessing that, under her protection, the brutal Sultan of the Turks, who was trampling upon the necks of the Christian population, was thoroughly beaten before the walls of Vienna in Austria.
Sermon by St. Peter Chrysologus
Dearly beloved brethren, ye have this day heard how an Angel treated with a woman touching the regeneration of mankind. Ye have heard how it was arranged that man should return to life by the same mean whereby he had fallen into death. The Angel treateth, treateth with Mary concerning salvation, because an angel had treated with Eve concerning destruction. Ye have heard how an Angel set about to raise with unspeakable building a temple of the Divine Majesty out of the dust of the earth. Ye have heard how by a mystery which cannot be understood, God got a place on earth and man a place in heaven. Ye have heard how by a working hitherto unheard of, God and man are joined together in one Body. Ye have heard how at the message of an Angel, the weak nature whereof our flesh is sharer, became strong to bear the whole glory of the Godhead.
Then, lest the frail clay of humanity should break down under the weight of God's work, and in Mary the tender stem should snap, which was about to bear the fruit of all mankind, the Angel's first words were a preventive against fear. And the Angel said unto her: Fear not, Mary. Even before the matter is revealed, the exalted station of this Virgin is made clear by her very name, for the name Mary is an Hebrew word, and signifieth Lady. The Angel therefore greeteth her as Lady, that the Mother of the Lord may lay aside the fearfulness of his handmaiden, whom the will of her own Offspring had made to be born and to be called a Lady. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace. He that hath found grace, need fear no more. Thou hast found grace.
Blessed is she who alone among mankind, and first among mankind deserved to hear: Thou hast found grace. And how much grace? Even as the Angel had said: Full! Full of grace. Full indeed! Grace like a bountiful shower drenched and soaked her whole being. For thou hast found grace with God. As he saith this, even the Angel doth marvel. He marvelleth that a woman should merit eternal life, that all men should merit it through her. The Angel marvelleth that the whole Godhead, he to whom the entire universe is small, should enter the narrow womb of a virgin. So he delayeth. He calleth her virgin. That was her right. He haileth her as full of grace. Then, with great trepidation he delivereth his message, scarcely able to phrase it so that it could be understood.