HOLY MARY OF NAZARETH

Posted By: May 27, 2020

I have received many requests for prayers from good and dedicated people—including those concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was moved to write this prayer, which I now share with all. God bless.

                                                                                                                                                                        HOLY MARY OF NAZARETH

A Prayer by Fr. Sean McManus

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“Hodegetria” is a Greek term that translates to “She who Points the Way.” The Blessed Virgin Mother is shown presenting Jesus Christ. Her fingers are purposely elongated, to point to Jesus Christ as “The Way.” The earliest prototype version of the Hodegetria icon dates from around the mid-6th Century, C.E., but it is probably lost for all time. This particular representation is the Icon of the Panagia “Hodegetria” (Byzantine Museum, 15th Century).

 

Holy Mary of Nazareth, Mother of the Word Incarnate and, therefore, properly called Mother of God, I/we turn to you in prayer, petition, and praise.

I/we do so in complete and total confidence, knowing that no person in all of human history is closer to the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In God’s Plan of Salvation, you have a unique, unequaled, and irreplaceable position and mission. That is why, in Biblical faith, “all generations call [you] blessed.” (John 1:48).

You were the first Christian: the first to hear the Good News of The Gospel of the coming of  God fully and completely into human history; you were the first follower of  Jesus Christ (even though it was Jesus who first “followed you around”) because he was conceived, lived and breathed inside your body for nine months. Because of you, Blessed Virgin Mother—and only you— God’s plan, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was made possible—” and the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14).

You, Blessed Mother, gave Jesus his flesh, his body, his human nature (and, who knows, maybe, even the color of His eyes, the shape of His nose, and the sound of His laugh).

In God’s Plan of Salvation, God’s Word (God’s Son—the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity) had to become human—to be “made flesh.” In God’s Plan of Salvation, the Savior, the Most Holy Redeemer, the Messiah, had to be not only Divine but human as well. That, Blessed Mother, could not have happened had you said “NO,” instead, of your famous “YES”—the most important affirmative response in history: “Be it done onto me according to your word.”

Sometime, Blessed Mother, it is said that we Catholics tend to treat you as if you were Divine, but nothing could be further from the truth. The whole meaning of the foundational mystery of The Incarnation is that you, Blessed Virgin Mother, had to be human. The Divine Son of God could only become human—be incarnated—if he had a human mother. And, of course, you, Blessed Mother, had to be a Virgin because God, not a man, is the Father of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Were you not a virgin, Blessed Virgin Mother, God’s revelation would not have been made clear, would not have been, in fact, “revealed.” Redemption has taken place precisely because Jesus is both God’s Son and your son, Holy and Blessed Mary of Nazareth.

Blessed Virgin Mother, I/we turn to you to “ground “ my/our  Christian prayer, because  the New Testament introduces Christianity through you, as beautifully rendered in The Angelus: “The angel of The Lord  declared onto Mary/And she conceived of the Holy Spirit/ Be it done on to me according to your word—And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (Luke 1. 26:38).

So, I/we begin my/our prayer with. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” (The best-known Catholic prayer of all, declares Catholics know very well that you, Blessed Mary, are not Divine/not God because we ask you to pray for us…To whom could you pray to if you were God? To yourself? Of course, not. You, Blessed Mary, pray to God for us because you are human. And you pray like all Christians do: to the Father, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, because that is how all Christian prayer works—including yours, Blessed Mother, except that your prayers are more powerful than any human being who has ever lived, because of your unique relationship with the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit.

So, Blessed Mother —also our Mother and Mother of the Church— please pray for me/us … now and at the Hour…. One of the Icons of you, Blessed Mother, and the Child Jesus is called, “She Who Points the Way.” This title is wonderfully meaningful. You were not only the first Christian but also the Perfect Christian— because, among other things,  you were born free from Original sin, by God’s mercy, because of the future merits of being the mother of Jesus Christ, your Savior— and because you always point to Jesus, never to yourself. So, Blessed Mary, keep pointing me/us towards Jesus, today and every day, because you more than any human being knows He “is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” … So, pray for me/us “now and at the Hour.”

I/we ask you,especially, to bless and protect our families and friends, our doctors, nurses and all those caring for  the sick and elderly at this time of  COVID-19. Amen.

 P.S. (Postscript),

Blessed Mother, while you’re at it, would you also keep reminding all of us that you were not some weak, timid, submissive, person (as some Christian art can imply) but a strong, fearless woman of great faith, justice, and solidarity. Your famous Magnificat— which Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, insisted in 1521 had to be sung daily at Vespers in all his Protestant Churches— powerfully proclaims God as a God of social justice: “ He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.”

Scripture scholars, Blessed Mother, have wisely pointed out that in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the most robust and strong hymns are always sung by women, which should not surprise us at all. Therefore, it should not surprise us either that your Magnificat is the strongest (yet gentlest, stressing God’s preferential option for the poor) canticle/song in the entire New Testament—which “Saint Luke puts on [your] lips as the first song of liberation in the New Testament.” ( [Catholic] Dictionary of Fundamental Theology. Page 583). This same Dictionary, Blessed Mother, declares: “ Our age needs a theology of freedom and liberation that will faithfully echo Mary’s Magnificat as preserved in the memory of the Church.” From the Dictionary’s mouth, Blessed Mother, to God’s and your ears!

Finally, Blessed Mother, Pope John Paul II summed it very well: “Mary is totally dependent    on God and completely directed toward Him and, at the side of her Son, she is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe. It is to her as mother and model that the church must look in order to understand in its completeness the meaning of [ its] own mission.” (Redemptoris Mater /Mother of the Redeemer).No. 37

END.