Lagura: A special day for a very special Lady-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, September 8, 2012
THE Feast of Our Lady’s Nativity was fast approaching, and a newly ordained priest was agonizing on what to say in his homily for that day. With trembling hands, he went to his bishop and said, “Your Excellency, I do not know what to say on September 8.” The bishop winked at him and said, “Don’t worry. Face the congregation and say, “I am in love with a woman. I’m in love with a very beautiful woman!” Then after a dramatic pause, say, “And her name is Mary!” The rest of the homily would be easy, he assured.
So, on the Feast of Our Lady’s Nativity, the newly ordained priest preached to the people saying, “The bishop says he is in love with a woman. He says he is in love with a very beautiful woman!” And after taking a long dramatic pause, he opened his mouth, but unfortunately he froze. Finally when he was able to open his mouth, he blurted out, “But I forgot her name!”
We can never forget the name of the very beautiful woman we are in love with especially on her birthday, September 8. On this day, the Church joyfully sings, “You are all-beautiful, O Mary! No sin is in thee.”(Tota pulchra es, O Maria, et macula non est in te!) In His eternal and omniscient design God prepared the Mother of His only begotten Son to be without any stain of sin. She is truly a very special lady. She was born that way.
On this day too, the 8th of September, 1875 on the Feast of the Birthday of Mother Mary, St. Arnold Janssen officially established the Society of the Divine Word, popularly known as the SVD, on the banks of the River Maas in Steyl, Holland. a town close to the German border. Although by citizenship a German, St. Arnold Janssen had to establish his first mission house in a town just across the border, for at that time Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany, had waged a fierce campaign against the Catholic Church. He prohibited in the strictest of terms the establishment of new religious congregations and the construction of religious houses in Germany. Holland became a place of refuge for Fr. Arnold. With very meager resources and in a truly humble setting--actually an old tavern--the Society of the Divine Word had its beginning. Its remarkable growth is credited to the special protection received from the Mother of the Divine Word on whose birthday the SVD saw the light of day.
On this day, too, the prayer of one humble but deep devotee to Our Blessed Mother received a special gift. As a young girl, Emelia fervently prayed to Our Blessed Lady for three gifts, namely, 1) that she would not suffer much in her last days 2) that she would not give much burden to her family before her death and, finally, 3) she would be taken home on a feast of Our Lady. True enough, Emelia--after a brief stay at the Chong Hua Hospital where she was confined after a stroke, went home to the Father on the eve of the Feast of Our Blessed Mother’s Birthday. I know this for a fact; Emelia was my earthly mother.
Her name and Our Lady’s name, I shall never forget.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 09, 2012.