Passionist Feast of
Mary, Our Mother of Holy Hope
The feast of Mary, Our Mother of Holy Hope, is celebrated in the Passionist Congregation, but not the general calendar. Celebrating such feasts is a way of nourishing Passionist spirituality throughout the year by recalling aspects of the central mystery of Our Lord’s Passion
There is a choice in the first reading: Sirach 24:1,3-4,8-12,19-21. Wisdom proclaims her glory before her people. For her we will hunger and thirst; obeying we will not be put to shame and serving her we will never fail. Or, in Acts 1:12-14, we see Mary with the apostles and disciples in constant prayer after Our Lord’s Ascension. The Response for today is the Magnificat of Mary, "My soul proclaims the goodness of the Lord", and our refrain, "Hail, O Mary, our hope". The Gospel is the wedding feast of Cana, John 2:1-11.
How might the feast of Our Mother of Holy Hope speak to us as lovers of the Passion? Another Marian feast is Our Mother of Sorrows, Mary beneath the cross. Here we may feel the invitation to stand with her, to comfort her, and enter with her into the mystery Jesus’ love upon the Cross. But in today’s feast we share with others the fruit of the Cross, the Tree of Life. The Preface for the feast, "Mary, Mother and Sign of Hope", shows Mary, having stood by the Cross, as the unfading star of hope and consolation before the dawn of everlasting day. We would stand with her again, each of us stars of hope in the nights of darkness.
We speak of the Passion of Christ as the love story of God told new. But not everyone approaches the Cross confidently. Many people see the Cross of Jesus and become afraid. They cannot go from the Cross as beacons of hope. Maybe their path is first to find comfort in the good that comes from the victory of the Cross, the hope and strength that brings consolation into our lives. Then they may draw near to the Cross of Christ without fear?
This feast is one that nourishes our compassionate sharing with those who suffer, our visits at the hospital bedside when words run out, our prayers for those frustrated who seek fulfillment, the failure, the abandoned. In the Gospel of the wedding of Cana, Mary tells the waiters to do what Jesus directs, although Jesus seems to dismiss her request saying, woman, my hour has not come. Every mother knows that her work has not ended the day her child comes to life in the world. Indeed! Mary’s work as Mother continues as does that of every mother, she continues to share in the work of Redemption, guiding her son as only a mother can. Your hour has indeed come; off to work. Her hope is our hope.
Passionist Bishop and martyr Blessed Eugene Bossilkov, CP was arrested in Sophia, Bulgaria, in 1952. Alone and in prison he was put to death by a firing squad late one night. He served a persecuted Church and suffered greatly. He writes in a beautiful letter that things are bad, but he is a son of the Province of Our Lady of Holy Hope (Holland) and so he keeps going. May hope keep us going, may it be the star’s light to brighten the lives of others.
Fr. Bill Murphy, C.P. is a member of St. Paul of the Cross Province and is pastor of St. Joseph’s Monastery parish in Baltimore, Maryland.