Web Editor’s Column
Thursday, September 1, 2016 6:10 PM
Month of September:
Month of Gratitude and Celebrations
We have just started the Month of September, month for which we were so eagerly waiting for. It marks liturgically the beginning of our Redemption, for which the entire world was greatly in need of. Secondly, it is the month in which we celebrate the feast of our Lady of Vailankanni: the greatest act of praise and honour to our Mother of Good Health. We, all of us, especially all of the devotees of the Mother of Good Health gather around our Mother to thank and praise her for the wonderful works she does throughout the year for her devotees. I am sure that many, from different parts of our Motherland already started the walking pilgrimage to Vailankanni and reach here for the flag-hoisting or at least for the Feast of our Mother of Good Health. Wish all of those who venture to make the walking pilgrimage, and those who participate spiritually and with their physical presence in all the celebrations, the blessings from above. We accompany you all with our prayers so that our Lady will bless you all and your families with Good health to finish the venture, and look ahead to the final pilgrimage to be with her in the New Life to come.
Month of September is the month in which we celebrate one of the greatest act of God’s Mercy: the work of Redemption starts with the coming of the “Morning Star” which will herald the coming of our Saviour, who is to be born among us, as one of us, to accomplish the work of redemption promised after the first sin of our first parents.
I am constantly aware of you all, especially all those who cannot be present during these celebrations from the hoisting of the flag on 29th August to the 8th of September, the Birthday of our Mother. But be sure that you and all your dear ones be remembered and prayed for in all our liturgical services, especially during the Holy Mass offered on Her altar, for all of you dearly beloved devotees. You all will be remembered and prayed for during all the services, and sure that our Lady of Good Health will fulfill all your intentions and shower upon you all the graces needed.
As we all of us acknowledge the three wonderful miracles performed by her in Vailankanni, she continues to be our protector and mother showing her maternal love and concern performing the miracles after miracles to her devotees. She is constantly close to us all with her motherly care, and guides all her devotees to the safe harbour of heaven. She has done this miracle of safe journey to the Portughese sailors. Surely she will do it for all of us her devotees, who with our bodily presence, if not, spiritual we profess our faith and love in her protective and guiding motherly love and concern. Be sure that we are in her hands, and she will never leave us even for one second.
Month of September especially 8th of September is such a memorable day for all of us, as her beloved devotees. It is a highly memorable day for the whole Church as this day is remembered as the day the Lord worked wonders and we celebrate it as the Birthday of Our Heavenly Mother. We are so eager and surely with grateful hearts celebrate her Birthday, and thank God for giving us such a watchful Mother on our journey. Jesus dying on the Cross on Mount Calvary, entrusted her to be our Mother through the hands of St, John the Apostle and Evangelist, She was the only treasure Jesus had on earth, and she is our treasure to cherish, love and imitate. Just listen to what Jesus says at that supreme moment of His Sacrifice: “near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister Mary… When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside him, he said to his mother: ‘Woman, here is your son’ “ (Jn. 19: 25-26).
Surely she received this new mission from her Divine Son dying on the cross: instead of her Divine Son, she received a human son. She is fully aware of this mission entrusted to her by her Divine Son. She exercises this mandate to each and every human being, you and I, with love and care as a devoted Mother. Her appreciative and comforting hands, which carried the Divine Son as a Babe, and looked after and cherished him, today looks after each one of us. She accomplished her mission seriously and even today, be sure, she continues to be faithful to her children all over the world, especially at Vailankanni.
St. John adds what he did receiving the divine mandate from Jesus. In his own words: “And from that moment the disciple took her into his own home.” Naturally we celebrate with all the pomp and show the Feast of our Mother of Good Health, and thus we honour her and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Son. Surely We honour our Heavenly Father, Eternal God, and the Holy Spirit. As we honour the three Divine Persons who marvelously worked in our Blessed Mother Mary, external celebrations are good and praiseworthy but we should not stop there, but make an efficient effort to bring an inner transformation as our Mother desires from each one of us. She desires that we should be worthy children of our heavenly Father loving and serving Him whenever we are planted.
Each human being, coming into the world, is willed by the Eternal Father and gave existence and power in order to accomplish that mission in the name of our Redeemer, Christ. Blessed Virgin Mary’s Mission is reflected from the very beginning of God’s intervention in the creation of mankind. God the Father created the human beings in “his own image and likeness” (Gen. 1:27). But human being, instead of being worthy of his high dignity, deviated from the right path, misused his freedom and thus became victim of the temptation of the devil: “for God knows that the day you eat of this fruit, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing what is good and what is bad” (Gen.3:15). The lovely creation of God, human being, fell victim to the temptation of the devil and their “eyes were opened” and became victims of the devil. Consequently they were cast out of the earthen paradise.
But the mercy of God abounds and surely greater than human sins and errors. Pope Francis, gloriously reigning now, wants us to live this reality. He specially dedicated this year to the “Mercy of God”, and thus we may really experience His mercy. As the first sin was committed, God promises something more joyful than we can think of, and thus to make us worthy children of this heavenly Father” “I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike at his heel.” (Gen 3:15). Thus from that moment on, the hope of a Saviour “born of a woman” will come and establish peace, joy and harmony for his people. And He will bring power and strength to conquer the enemy, the devil, and no one will become victim of the devil.
We have already started the month of September, and on 8th September we celebrate this great event, the fulfillment of this promise: the Birth of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Morning Star, who will bring forth the Son of Love and Peace: the promised redeemer. Thus in His mercy, the doors of Heaven are opened for us and we become the true children of the Heavenly Father and through her in Christ we can cry out again, God “Abba Father”. Here is a beautiful quote, expressing the beauty; the reality of our baptismal life: “As the first Eve was drawn from the side of Adam, all radiant with life and innocence, so Mary, glorious and immaculate, came out from the heart of the eternal Word, who by the work of the Holy Spirit, as the liturgy teaches us, wanted Himself to shape that body and that soul which one day serve Him as the tabernacle and altar. This therefore is the sublime meaning of the Feast of the maternity of the Blessed Mother.” –Card. Ildefons Schuster. We can rightly assert that she is the dawn of salvation for the whole world. She was called and brought forth into the world to co-operate with her Son to accomplish the redemptive work. She is rightly called the “Morning Star” announcing the coming our Saviour, who through His death and resurrection brings forth the Redemption. Rightly we are restored to the dignity of the children of our Heavenly Father. And thus she is our Mother working with us, interceding for us . This is the preoccupation she has shown in the three Miracles of Vialankanni.
Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, continues to work for the redemption of the whole world associated with her Son. The continual work for the redemption is shown forth in the three apparitions in Vailankanni and those of the whole world. As shown in the book of Genesis, Mary is the woman whose offspring crushed the head of the devil, and now she continues her mission from Heaven. It is our duty and right to celebrate her Birthday so that all may readily reborn through her especially through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion. Without Christ in our hearts and lives we will never be able to make happy our Mother. Let this be an occasion of Reconciliation and receiving the Author of life in our hearts and thus, as our Mather Mary was full of grace, we too be full of love in our families and society. Come and share the blessings of this wonderful Feast of Our Lady of Good Health and become new beings in Christ so that each one of us can accomplish that mission which is entrusted to us as Mary accomplished it. We make an effort to be “full of grace” and love in the family and society. We can thus promise to be worthy citizens of our motherland, India.
Wish each and every one of you a very Happy Feast of our Mother of Good Health. May God bless you all and your families!
Very. Rev. Fr. A.M.A Prabhakar, Rector
Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni.