Did you know that the United States of America has been long been consecrated to the Blessed Mother for protection? Remembering this can give us a boost of hope when everything looks scary.
From the beginning, she has been a part of our national heritage. “Holy Mary” (Santa Maria) was the title of Columbus’ flagship. And although Lord Baltimore’s colony (Maryland) was named after the wife of England’s King Charles I, the colonists had the Blessed Mother in mind when they named their first settlement, St. Mary’s City on St. Mary’s River. The original name for the nearby Chesapeake Bay was “The Bay of the Mother of God.”
The national Catholic basilica, located in Baltimore not far from Washington, D.C., was named after the Assumption of Mary, and when the nearby cathedral was built in the mid-20th century, it was named to honor her queenship (Mary Our Queen).
It “just so happens” that the Church’s celebration of the Queenship of Mary is the same day that Islamic terrorists pay tribute to the beginning of Muhammad’s mission (August 22). This is the day they believe Muhammad’s power to create a new society began, which they believe justifies their violent attempts to take over the world. This is the same day we recognize that Mary is Queen of the whole human race because she is the mother of Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace.
On the Saturday after terrorists attacked America in 2011, while we mourned the deaths of innocent people, it “just so happened” to be the Church’s feast day for turning to Mary as “Our Lady of Sorrows.” In light of all this, read Luke 7:11-17 as a message of hope. See “the widowed mother” as Mary and her dead son as Jesus. This incident was a foreshadowing (a promise) of Christ’s resurrection.
Now read Luke 7:11-17 again, and see the dead son as anyone who’s been attacked, wounded, or abused (crucified) while under Mary’s care, including — and especially — the U.S. in regards to terrorism. “God has visited His people” WILL BE “the report that spreads” about the tragic events of that week! Let us cling to this promise. We can use it to replace our fears and despair and anger and thoughts of revenge with God’s gift of hope.
Immediately after that terrible 9/11 attack, there was a rush of people buying books about Nostradamus’ predictions — let us turn instead to this gift of hope and be a witness of God’s promises to others. There was also a resurgence of Christians wondering if this is the beginning of “The End” and of Catholic Christians wondering if this is part of “The Chastisement.” If we look deep enough, we will discover that such thinking is rooted in revenge (not justice); we want God to punish the evil-doers, we expect God to punish America for its abortions and taking prayer out of public schools and other communal sins.
This is a good time to remember that evil produces evil and good produces good and God is, by His infinite goodness, a redeemer, not a punisher. We make ourselves vulnerable to evil by the choices we make, and thereby we punish ourselves, but God is always at our side helping us despite our sins. Even when we don’t ask for it, He is helping us! How merciful He is! Of course, we often don’t accept His help, but that doesn’t stop Him from doing more good for us than what we’re aware He’s doing. He is goodness itself! He can’t not be good to every person who has ever lived!
This is also a good time to reconsecrate ourselves and the whole human race to the immaculate, loving, motherly heart of Mary Our Queen. (You might want to use the prayer for this feast day from my book, Daily Prayers with the Saints for the New Millennium.)
God’s goodness is the basis of hope. Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is faith in God’s promises. Let us grow stronger in hope today and evangelize this hope to others, through the strength that God provides.
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