That infamous 9-11 attack in the United States will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. How quickly time flies because it seemed just like yesterday. The issue of international security once again takes center stage. So much has happened in 10 years:the war on terror and the death of Al Quaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. So much has happened and yet, we ask: Is the world now at peace?
The Feast of the Birth of Mary is an appeal for peace. At the Opening Prayer, we petitioned the Lord: May the celebration of her birthday bring us closer to lasting peace. Many people are so much engrossed with 9-11 that they missed 9-12 which is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, a feast so closely associated with today’s feast. The Feast of Mary’s Holy Name commemorates the victory of Christian forces against the Moslems in the battle of Vienna in 1683. It was a feast that disappeared in the reform of the liturgical calendar but was restored by Blessed John Paul in the year 2000, a year before that fateful 9-11. The coincidences are too fantastic to miss. Obviously, the Lord has entrusted the work of Peace to his own Blessed Mother.
“The Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne…He shall stand fast to shepherd his flock…He shall be peace.” The work of peace was entrusted by the Lord to the Virgin Mary because she is the Mother of Him who is our Peace. The One born of her is called Wonder-counsellor, God-hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace. The One born of her is the One who broke down the walls dividing Jews and Gentiles. “He is our Peace,” so said St. Paul. Obviously, peace is achieved permanently in the rule of Christ whose kingdom lasts for ever. This is the formula that the world has never tried: Pax Christi in Regno Christi. Peace comes only when Christ rules over us. Peace comes only when Christ is formed in us. Thus, we should understand why the work of peace was entrusted to the Virgin Mary.
St. Louis Marie de Monfort wrote: “If Mary is well cultivated in our soul by fidelity to the practices of this devotion, she will bear her fruit in her own time, and her fruit is none other than Jesus Christ. How many devout souls do I see who seek Jesus Christ…and oftentimes, after they have toiled much throughout the night, they say: ‘We have toiled all night, and have taken nothing!’ (Lk. 5:5)…But by that immaculate way of Mary…we toil during the day, we toil in a holy place, we toil but little. There is no night in Mary, because there is no sin nor even the slightest shade (in her). Mary is a holy place, and the holy of holies where saints are formed and molded…Saints are molded in Mary. There is a great difference between making a figure by blows of hammer and chisel, and making a figure by throwing it into a mold. Sculptors labor much to make figures in the first manner, but to make figures in the second manner, they work little and do their work quickly. St. Augustine calls our Blessed Lady “the mold of God” – the mold fit to cast and mold gods. He who is cast in this mold is presently formed and molded in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ in him. At a slight expense and in a short time he will become God because he has been cast in the same mold which has formed a God…Those who embrace the secret of grace which I am revealing to them I may rightly compare to founders and casters who have discovered the beautiful mold of Mary, where Jesus was naturally and divinely formed; and without trusting in their own skill, but only in the goodness of the mold, they cast themselves and lose themselves in Mary, to become the faithful portraits of Jesus…But remember that we cast in a mold only what is melted and liquid, that is to say, you must destroy and melt down in yourself the old Adam to become the new one in Mary.” (True Devotion to Mary, 218-221.)
Only in such way can there be peace if we are molded into Christ who is our Peace. Therefore, let Christ be formed in us. Let us be formed in Christ. Let this be done in the mold of Mary. May our celebration of her birthday bring us closer to lasting peace.
We ought to get back the dimension of the sacred in the liturgy. The liturgy is not a festivity; it is not a meeting for the purpose of having a good time. It is of no importance that the parish priest has cudgeled his brains to come up with suggestive ideas or imaginative novelties. The liturgy is what makes the Thrice-Holy God present amongst us; it is the burning bush; it is the Alliance of God with man in Jesus Christ, who has died and risen again. The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers an interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, whom we are not capable of summoning. He comes because He wills. In other words, the essential in the liturgy is the mystery, which is realized in the common ritual of the Church; all the rest diminishes it. Men experiment with it in lively fashion, and find themselves deceived, when the mystery is transformed into distraction, when the chief actor in the liturgy is not the Living God but the priest or the liturgical director. - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Chile, 1988)
Do we still need sacred space, sacred time, mediating symbols? Yes, we do need them, precisely so that, through the "image," through the sign, we learn to see the openness of heaven. We need them to give us the capacity to know the mystery of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified. - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Spirit of the Liturgy )