Poetry and Prayer.
In the Diocese of Metuchen:
The Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Lessons from the proper, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Isaiah 9: 1-6.
• Psalm 113: 1-8.
• Luke 1: 26-38.
…or, any lessons from the common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Outside the Diocese of Metuchen:
The Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Lessons from the primary feria for the Twentieth Thursday of Ordinary Time, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Judges 11: 29-39.
• Psalm 40: 5, 7-10.
• Matthew 12: 1-14.
…or, from the proper as above, or any lessons from the common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Second Class Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and, the Commemoration of Saints Timothy, Hoppolytus & Symphorian, Martyrs.*
Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Ecclesiasticus 24: 23-31.
• Psalm 12: 6.
• John 19: 25-27.
8:13 AM 8/22/2019 —
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
That’s a poem called "Sea-Fever" by John Masefield, which first appeared in his collection Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, published in 1916 and, obviously, I read it to you for a reason as it relates—at least in my twisted mind—to today’s feast. And, while most of the Catholic world observes this day as a memorial, in the Diocese of Metuchen the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary has the rank of a feast because Mary, under that title, is the principle Patroness of our diocese.
Those of you who may be familiar with the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite—or what some call the “Traditional Latin Mass”—might make the mistake of thinking that today’s feast corresponds to the second class feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which occurs today on the traditional calendar, but it doesn’t. Today’s feast in the Traditional Latin Calendar, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was transferred to the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart in the new calendar; the Queenship of Mary in the modern calendar actually corresponds to the feast of the same name which was originally observed on May 31st. It was instituted by Pope Venerable Pius XII in 1954, and transferred to today’s date because today is the octave day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But, back to our poem and why I read it to you.
We don't often think about it, especially if we're handicapped by knowing only one language, but the name of Mary means “star of the ocean” or “star of the sea.” Mare, in Latin, means “ocean” or “sea”; the invocation in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin is not something that someone just made up: the name “Mary” actually means Stella Maris or “Star of the Sea,” referring to the star by which a sailor will navigate and find his way when there are no landmarks to guide him.
And “Star of the Sea” is a most fitting name for the Virgin Mother of God, Who can well be compared to a star; for, just as a star beams forth its rays without being diminished in any way, so Mary gave birth to a Son without any loss of Her virginity. She is that noble Star risen from Jacob and raised by God above the great and wide sea of this passing world, and shines with virtue to enlighten us with Her own bright example. And we, who find ourselves tossed to and fro on the ocean of this valley of tears, trying desperately to navigate the murky waters of worry and worldly concerns, often find ourselves without any landmarks to guide us.
Oh, the landmarks are there: we have the Holy Gospel, we have the Tradition of the Fathers, we have the example of the saints and the teachings of Holy Mother Church; shining out across the ocean of life like lighthouses, guiding us through shallow waters and around the reefs, they give us the Truths of the Faith, but they fall short sometimes in soothing our troubled spirits. That's a failing on our part, not the Church's.
But the God Who made us knows us better than we know ourselves, which is why He arranged things the way He did:
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God in a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary (Luke 1: 26-27 NABRE).
The “Star of the Sea,” a Star to steer by.
May this motherly Queen spread her mantle of protection over our diocese on this special day, and over the whole church during these troubled times, and may we turn to Her to guide our own spiritual barks as we strive to navigate the often choppy seas of this passing world.
* Though commemorated together, these three martyrs suffered in different persecutions: Timothy under Maximian, Bishop Hippolytus under Alexander, and the youth Symphorian under Aurelian. The commemoration is made by an additional Collect, Secret and Postcommunion added to those of the feast.