the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of
Antioch, 1st c. A.D
The Feast of the
Most Holy Name of Mary
practitioner of the Old Testament faith, which is fullfilled in the New
Covenant, Mary would have been named on the 8th day after her birth.
Because of this, today's feast originally took place on the 15th of
September -- the octave of the
Feast of Mary's Nativity on September 8. It was also originally a
local feast -- one celebrated only in the Kingdom of Naples and in
Spain -- but Pope Innocent XI extended the feast to the entire church,
and Pope St. Pius X fixed the date at September 12. Why this date? Here
is the story:
In 1529, 100,000 Turks of the Ottoman Empire held the city of Vienna
under siege, but the Christians were able to rally and take the city
back with only 21,000 men. This sort of hectoring by the Ottomans had
been going on for 150 years -- and for the 150 years that followed the
Siege of Vienna, the Turks kept trying, wanting to use Vienna as a
foothold from which to further invade and capture the rest of Europe.
They armed the enemies of the Holy Roman Empire, even using Protestant
traitors in their cause.
In 1683, they tried yet again to seize Vienna. On July 14 of that year,
around 170,000 Turks took hold of the city, but the Christians -- all
15,000 of them, along with 8,700 volunteers -- refused to cede (even if
they'd wanted to, they knew it would do no good and bring no peace: not
even a week earlier, the Turks demanded that the citizens of a smaller
town outside of Vienna give them the key to the city or be killed. The
residents gave up the key -- and were slaughtered anyway).
The Turks cut off Vienna's food supply; the men were hungry and tired;
temporal defenses were wearing very, very thin.
But to the rescue came King John III Sobieski of Poland, with forces
also from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia! Leaving on the Feast of the Assumption,
they crossed the Danube on September 6 and signalled to the Viennese
that they were
there. The Viennese sent out a Vienna-based Polish diplomat named Jerzy
Franciszek Kulczyckito to get around the Turkish troops, and meet up
with the newly-arrived Christian troops, arranging with them a time for
a coordinated attack. The papal envoy sent to Emperor Leopold I, a
named Marco d'Aviano, rallied the troops, offered Mass, and the
Poles sang an ancient hymn to the Blessed Virgin -- a hymn called the Bogurodzica (Mother of God), now
considered the national hymn of Poland:
dziewica, Bogiem sławiena Maryja!
U twego syna Gospodzina Matko zwolena, Maryja,
Zyszczy nam, spuści nam!
Twego dziela Krzciciela, bożycze,
Usłysz głosy, napełń myśli człowiecze!
Słysz modlitwę, jąż nosimy,
A dać raczy, jegoż prosimy:
A na świecie zbożny pobyt,
Po żywocie rajski przebyt!
of God, God-famed Mary!
Ask Thy Son, our Lord, God-named Mary,
To have mercy upon us and hand it over to us!
Son of God, for Thy Baptist's sake,
Hear the voices, fulfill the pleas we make!
Listen to the prayer we say,
For what we ask, give us today:
Life on earth free of vice;
After life: paradise!
Then the battle was on.
September 12, the Christians had defeated the
Muslims so badly that it was finally
the end of their incessant
attempts at taking Europe. So, September 12 it is!
Today's also a good day for eating croissants and drinking cappuccino.
English translation of Larousse Gastronomique explains the former:
pastry originated in Budapest in 1686, when the Turks were besieging
the city. To reach the centre of the town, they dug underground
passages. Bakers, working during the night, heard the noise made by the
Turks and gave the alarm. The assailants were repulsed and the bakers
who had saved the city were granted the privilege of making a special
pastry which had to take the form of a crescent in memory of the emblem
on the Ottoman flag.
OK, so Larousse got the year and the city wrong, but the song remains
the same, and we can't expect chefs to be historians. But while you're
savoring the buttery goodness of your croissant, ponder the fact that
the Muslim crescent Moon is waning, decreasing in power, with the light
to the left, about to disappear altogether; as
a symbol for Mary, the
crescent Moon is waxing, becoming greater and greater to fullness, with
the light to the right. Just as it should
As to the cappuccino, the story goes that, after the battle, the people
of Vienna discovered many bags of coffee left behind by the
coffee-loving Turks. Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki,1 the Pole
who went on
the spy mission mentioned ealier, opened the first coffeehouse in
Vienna. There, he is said to have invented cappuccino, naming it in
honor of Fr. Marco d'Aviano, the Capuchin friar
who offered Mass before the battle. Another version of the story has
Fr. d'Aviano himself inventing the drink, but in either case,
cappuccino is named for Fr. d'Aviano, who was beatified in 2003.
enjoying your coffee and croissant, you might also enjoy listening to
work from Austrian composer Johann Joseph Fux. A section of his
Sinfonia a 3 in C major,
K.331 is called "Turcaria (Musical portrait of the
siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683)" to commemorate the Battle of
Vienna. Listen below:
The crushing of
the Ottomans is not only the reason for the date of this feast, but
it's also reflected in the naming of the
constellation Scutum, which you can find when
Sagittarius is visible in the sky. It's a diamond-shaped
discovered the year after the Battle of Vienna -- located between
Aquila. "Scutum" means "shield," and its name was given to it in honor
of King John III Sobieski and his victory over the Muslim aggressors.
Now, let's put
aside the battles, croissants, and tasty Italian
beverages and get back to the most holy name of Our Lady.
Feast of the
Most Holy Name of Mary
by Dom Guéranger
"And the Virgin's name was Mary. Let us speak a little about this name,
which signifies star of the sea, and which so well befits the Virgin
Mother. Rightly is she likened to a star: for as a star emits its ray
without being dimmed so the Virgin brought forth her Son without
receiving any injury; the ray takes nought from the brightness of the
star, nor the Son from His Mother's integrity. This is the noble star
risen out of Jacob, whose ray illumines the whole world, whose
splendour shines in the heavens, penetrates the abyss, and, traversing
the whole earth, gives warmth rather to souls than to bodies,
cherishing virtues, withering vioes. Mary, I say, is that bright and
incomparable star, whom we need to see raised above this vast sea,
shining by her merits, and giving us light by her example.
"Oh! whosoever thou art that seest thyself, amid the tides of this
world, tossed about by storms and tempests rather than walking on the
land, turn not thine eyes away from the shining of this star if thou
wouldst not be overwhelmed by the hurricane. If squalls of temptations
arise, or thou fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star,
call upon Mary. If thou art tossed by the waves of pride or ambition,
detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or
avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship of thy soul,
turn thine eyes towards Mary. If, troubled by the enormity of thy
crimes, ashamed of thy guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the
judgment, thou beginnest to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss
of despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of
Mary, call upon Mary. Let her be ever on thy lips, ever in thy heart ;
and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example
of her life. Following her, thou strayest not; invoking her, thou
despairest not; thinking of her, thou wanderest not; upheld by her,
thou fallest not; shielded by her, thou fearest not; guided by her,
thou growest not weary; favoured by her, thou readiest the goal. And
thus dost thou experience in thyself how good is that saying: And the
Virgin's name was Mary."
Thus speaks the devout St. Bernard, in the name of the Church. But his
pious explanation does not exhaust the meanings of this blessed name of
Mary. St. Peter Chrysologus adds in this same night Office: "Mary in
Hebrew signifies lady or sovereign: and truly the authority of her Son,
who is the Lord of the world, constituted her Queen, both in fact and
in name, from her very birth."
Our Lady: such is the title which befits her in every way, as that of
Our Lord beseems her Son; it is the doctrinal basis of that worship of
hyperdulia whioh belongs to her alone. She is below her Son, whom she
adores as we do; but above all God's servants, both angels and men,
inasmuoh as she is His Mother. At the name of Jesus every knee is bent;
at the name of Mary every head is bowed.
And although the former is the only name whereby we may be saved; yet,
as the Son was never be separated from His Mother, heaven unites their
two names in its hymns of praise, earth in its confidence, hell in its
fear and hatred.
It was therefore in the order of divine Providence that devotion to the
most holy name of Mary should spread simultaneously with the cultus of
the adorable name of Jesus, of which St. Bernadin of Siena was the
apostle in the fifteenth century. In 1513 the Church of Cuenca in Spain
was the first to celebrate, with the approbation of the holy See, a
special feast in honour of the name of Mary, while the Francisoan Order
had not yet succeeded in obtaining a like privilege for the adorable
name of Jesus. The reason of this is that the memory of that sacred
name included in the feast of the Circumcision, seemed to the prudence
of the Pontiffs to suffice. From the same motive we find the feast of
the most holy name of Mary extended to the universal Church in the year
1683, and that of the most holy name of Jesus not until 1721.
Our Lady justifies her beautiful title by partaking in the warlike
exploits of the King of kings her Son. The city of Vienna having been
delivered by her, contrary to all hope, from the power of the Crescent,
the venerable Innocent XI made this feast the memorial of universal
gratitude to the liberatrix of the west.
1 I think in order for an anglophone to
pronounce Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki's name, he must first stuff his
mouth full of crunchy celery.