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Homily for Sunday, 18.09.22: The Beauty of Mary

On this first of two Sundays which fall within our Parish Festival, let’s turn our eyes, minds and hearts to our Patroness, St. Mary, Star of the Sea. The image of the Star of the Sea is rather evocative. The star shines to provide light and direction in the night or in dark and turbulent days. It both comforts us and allows clarity of sight to see where we are going. It is a beautiful image; it is an image of beauty.


Recall the even more striking image of the Woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet and twelve stars around her head. It’s a difficult image even to visualize. In fact, if we saw it with the naked eye, its dazzling light and beauty would probably blind us.


Another title of Our Lady to which I have a deep personal devotion is Mother of Beautiful Love. Beautiful love means true and faithful love; it radiates the profound goodness of love; it draws you into union with itself. Our Lady first received this beautiful love when She was conceived without sin. Not even the light of the sun and of twelve thousand stars can compare with the beauty of Her Immaculate Heart. It is as perfect a reflection as possible of the beauty of divine love itself, implanted in Her as the sheer gift of grace.


That grace was given to Mary as a unique and exceptional privilege. It already enclosed within itself the beauty of her divine motherhood and perpetual virginity, for it was given to Her in view of the incarnation of the Son of God. In fact, it was given to her from the infinite treasure of grace which Her Son would pour out on humanity from the Wood of the Cross. The beauty of Mary is but one expression, albeit a sublime and singular expression, of the Glory of Christ crucified. No wonder, then, that everything about the Mother of Beautiful Love draws us beyond herself into the mysteries of Christ. No wonder either that all She does for us and gives us comes from the wounded side of Her Son.


During this Parish Festival in Her honour, my hope is that we can try and carve out some quiet quality time before Our Lady and stir our spiritual imagination to see Her in all Her beauty and love. Beauty stops us in our tracks. Its light and splendour flood the soul. Its form delights the mind. Its deep mystery draws us in and sends us back out again to tell others about it. The ultimate depth of Mary’s beauty is the glory of Her Son reaching out to us through Her and drawing us to Himself by Her maternal care and intercession. Try to find some extra time with Her, contemplating Her in silence. Wait for Her to draw you more deeply into Her Son, the whole of Her Son, which includes His Body, the Church, of which She is the first, the greatest, the most beautiful member.


My prayer is that all of us, as individuals and as parish, will receive through Her in these days whatever Her Immaculate Heart desires for us. Not what we want, but what She wants for us. St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Mother of Beautiful Love, shine your light upon our lives and show us the way through the storm to reach safe harbour in the arms of the Trinity. See, as you did for the young couple at Cana: we have no wine. You are the Full of Grace. Obtain for us what you know we need, so that the glory of your Son may be made manifest and our faith in Him renewed.