Rorate Caeli

The Sacred Liturgy and Mary Most Holy - Part 3

How to celebrate the Marian feasts. The Marian feasts are to be celebrated following the spirit of the Church, according to what is established in the Offices and in the Propers of the Mass. 

General dispositions: 1. Mary must be given a pure heart: which is why a good Confession is a great preparation; 2. it is necessary to meditate well: on the title, the object, and the motive of the feast; 3. One must enter in a spirit of holy joy, intense love, and full confidence. 

Particular dispositions: 
1.                  God placed grace in the hands of Mary; he has also granted her a heart that is wholly love for her children. On the one hand, Mary had all powers before God, and, on the other, she has a heart that understands all our needs.

Mary is invoked under so many titles because she was granted power over all things. The sinner calls Mary Refugium peccatorum, because he expects from her the graces of penance and forgiveness; the sick calls her Salus infirmorum, because how knows that Mary has the power to heal him; the Priest calls her Mother of the Divine Shepherd; the poor, Mother of Providence; while for other needs there are the Virgin of Perpetual Succour, the Patronage of Mary, the Help of Christians, the Comforter, the Seat of wisdom, etc.

2.   The Church also desires us to learn from the virtues of Mary, especially her goodness, in some feasts. Mary is the image of the goodness of God: Imago bonitatis illius (Wisdom vii, 26). “Mary,” Saint Bernard says, “opens to all the heart of mercy, so that from its fullness everything may be reached: forgiveness, for the sinner; grace, for the just;  joy, for the angel; glory, for the Most Holy Trinity. Quis misericordiae tuae, o benedicta, longitudinem, latitudinem, sublimitatem et profundum queat investigare? Who can ever understand, o Holy Virgin, the length, width, depth, and height of your mercy?

The Heart of Mary is full of mercy: it also has the virtue of justice, because it has all virtues in the highest degree; Mary, however, deals with us only with mercy: she is our Mamma.

Let us eagerly ask Mary for a good heart, that feels the needs of all and that has compassion for all. Let us beseech her that she may make our heart like unto hers: Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum, o Maria.


What does the Church intend to teach us from the Liturgy established in honor of Mary Most Holy? The Liturgy always has three ends: to instruct us in divine truths, to encourage us in the practice of virtues, and, above all, to guide us to pray.

1)   Instructing us on the dogmas and truths that the Church professes and preaches on the Virgin. Therefore, for instance, the Liturgy of the Immaculate proposes this dogma to us, explains it to us with Holy Scripture and the doctrine of the Fathers; the Liturgy of the Assumption instructs us on the blessed end, on resurrection, on the assumption, glorification, and coronation of the Virgin, Queen of Heaven and Earth. 

2)   Encouraging us to in the practice of virtues. In order to achieve this, the Church makes us consider the many duties that come with the fact of being Christians and proposes to us the examples of the Most Blessed Virgin. The feast of the Annunciation, for instance, makes us meditate on the humility of Mary; the feast of the Visitation, on her charity; that of the Purity of Mary, on her unblemished Virginity; and so forth for the others. 

3)   The liturgy has as its end to make us pray. It is the Church that brings us to Mary and invites us to celebrate her and invoke her with the prayers that the Church herself composed  under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

The Liturgy is instruction, edification, sanctification.

[Blessed James Alberione. The Feasts of Mary ("Feste di Maria", 1951): Introduction. Text in three parts - this is the last part.]