In the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the titles given to her that catches my attention is “Morning star”. Why is Mama Mary called as such? I tried to reflect what would be the meaning of the morning star – it is high in heaven, the brightest one in the sky which signals the rising of the sun.
This also brought my attention to the morning star that appeared in the east. The Magis have seen the “guiding star” of Bethlehem during the birth of Jesus that directed them to the manger. And so I considered Mother Mary the Morning Star, continuously shedding light to the world and guiding every one of us to the direction of Jesus Christ.
After the life of Mary on earth, here assumption into heaven body and soul, she did not leave us alone. Through her many apparitions, Mary continuously reminds us of the presence of her Son Jesus. Some of her well-known apparitions include the following:
- Guadalupe, Mexico, 1531 – The blessed Mother called Juan Diego from the top of a hill. The Lady instructed him to relate to the bishop that a chapel be built in her honor at the bottom of the hill. It signaled the beginning of the spread of Christianity in Mexico where 6 million native Mexicans and Latin Americans were converted to Catholicism within a short time. Countless cures, interventions and miracles were attributed to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
- Lourdes, Franch, 1858 – The Lady appeared 18 times to Bernadette Soubouris with a rosary hanging from Her right arm in Massabielle grotto. Mother Mary, who identified herself as “The Immaculate Concepcion” showed the girl muddy water at the back of the grotto that became enormous spring, now known as the source of miraculous water. The apparition of our Lady of Lourdes was not just for Bernadette but for the whole mankind; that the important thing is to be happy in the next life. Mother Mary stresses the importance of prayer, especially the rosary. Penance and humility are also part of the message, as well as mercy for sinners and compassion for the sick.
- Fatima, Portugal, l917 – Our Lady appeared six times to the 3 peasant children Lucia, Francisco, and Jacenta. Mary repeatedly requested for the conversion of sinners, a great deal of prayer and sacrifices, a devotion to the Immaculate Heart, the daily Holy Rosary and a life of the sacraments especially penance and the Holy Eucharist, for peace throughout the world.
In all of Mary’s apparitions, she wants the world to know that God exists, He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy His fullness and peace, we must return to God.
Here in the Philippines, devotion to Mama Mary is very popular as shown by the many pilgrim sites and churches all over the country, such as the Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaoag, our Lady of Piat in Tuguegarao, and our Lady of EDSA among others. These devotions to Mama Mary are concrete Manifestations of her very important role in the lives of Filipino Christians.
Indeed, even today Mama Mary is continuously guiding us, not necessarily by extra-ordinary apparitions, spreading the message of God to every one thru her voice in Radio Maria, by bringing Christ into every home.
Mother Mary, Star of the Morning, PRAY FOR US!
by: Dang Sapuay