“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, the Morning Star (through words of Blessed John Henry Newman)

There are times when I know exactly what I am going to write for a “Mondays with Mary” and then there are times when I struggle to find a topic. Today was one of those days, however, after a miscue on what reading I was suppose to read last night at our monthly Latin Novus Ordo Mass, it came to me, well it came to me through a friend. I was supposed to read the first reading, but I read the second reading. She said to me, Tom, you had to read that reading because it mentioned “morning star” and you had to read about Mary.

So for today’s blog post on the Blessed Mother, I am going to focus on the Marian title, Morning Star, but through the words of Blessed John Henry Newman. However, before I give you his words, let me briefly explain this title to you and what it means.

In the Litany of Loreto, there isn’t a title that is more precise than “Morning Star.” All stars image the Blessed Virgin Mary for she is the reflection of the brightest star, Jesus Christ. One of the most popular titles for Mary is “Star of the Sea”, which derives from ancient Marian hymns. In September, I will focus on this Marian title more.

The title “Morning Star” is often associated with the Blessed Mother because the Church interprets this verse from Song of Songs – “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun?” (6:10) as a description of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As the “Morning Star”, Mary precedes the coming of the star that lights the day, the star that points to the largest star. As always, Mary is leading us closer to Jesus Christ.

Now that we have a brief understanding of this title, let us turn to the words of Blessed John Henry Newman, a man who can say hello and good-bye more eloquently than me. As often happens with the saints, after I read this explanation of the Morning Star from Newman, my one word was…Wow!

“WHAT is the nearest approach in the way of symbols, in this world of sight and sense, to represent to us the glories of that higher world which is beyond our bodily perceptions? What are the truest tokens and promises here, poor though they may be, of what one day we hope to see hereafter, as being beautiful and rare? Whatever they may be, surely the Blessed Mother of God may claim them as her own. And so it is; two of them are ascribed to her as her titles, in her Litany—the stars above, and flowers below. She is at once the Rosa Mystica and the Stella Matutina.

And of these two, both of them well suited to her, the Morning Star becomes her best, and that for three reasons.

First, the rose belongs to this earth, but the star is placed in high heaven. Mary now has no part in this nether world. No change, no violence from fire, {77} water, earth, or air, affects the stars above; and they show themselves, ever bright and marvellous, in all regions of this globe, and to all the tribes of men.

And next, the rose has but a short life; its decay is as sure as it was graceful and fragrant in its noon. But Mary, like the stars, abides for ever, as lustrous now as she was on the day of her Assumption; as pure and perfect, when her Son comes to judgment, as she is now.

Lastly, it is Mary’s prerogative to be the Morning Star, which heralds in the sun. She does not shine for herself, or from herself, but she is the reflection of her and our Redeemer, and she glorifies Him. When she appears in the darkness, we know that He is close at hand. He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Behold He comes quickly, and His reward is with Him, to render to everyone according to his works. ‘Surely I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.'”

Blessed Virgin Mary, Morning Star…Pray for Us 

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