We find ourselves in increasingly more turbulent seas as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, and in some places, unrest, instability, and violence. That doesn’t even include the dictatorship of relativism, hedonism, utilitarianism, violent ideologies, and nihilism that have taken over our culture. The Barque of Peter once more finds herself buffeted by the waves in the fourth watch of the night as we make our way to the eternal shores.
It is precisely in times such as ours when countless Christians down through the ages have turned to Our Blessed Mother for aid. Since we find ourselves in darkness, uncertainty, and at times battling immense doubt about the right course to take, now is the time to turn to Mary, Star of the Sea. We can always trust in her guidance and leadership.
The world is in desperate need of light and Our Heavenly Mother, who radiates the light of Christ wants to guide us to eternity and to the fullness of communion in the Most Holy Trinity we are made for. As we make our way through these troubled times, She is the one who will strengthen us in faith in a way only a mother can. Her tender care, patience, and great love for us is perfectly united to Christ. She desires our salvation. When the seas become stormy and the darkness closes in around us, She comes to strengthen us in faith.
The Church holds up Our Lady as a model of perfect faith. In his beautiful encyclical on Mary, Redemptoris Mater, St. John Paul II states:
But above all, in the Church of that time and of every time Mary was and is the one who is “blessed because she believed”; she was the first to believe. From the moment of the Annunciation and conception, from the moment of his birth in the stable in Bethlehem, Mary followed Jesus step by step in her maternal pilgrimage of faith. She followed him during the years of his hidden life at Nazareth; she followed him also during the time after he left home, when he began “to do and to teach” (cf. Acts 1:1) in the midst of Israel. Above all she followed him in the tragic experience of Golgotha.
Our Lady guides us to her Son through her example of faith. From the mundanity of daily life to the difficulties of discipleship and all the way to the Cross, Our Blessed Mother seeks to safely guide us to the safe haven of heaven.
She stands with us at the foot of the Crosses of our lives. She wants to lead us away from anger, hatred, division, and despair in the face of the difficulties we are facing. She wants to draw us to her Son who can cast out all of our fears. There is no other human being who understands the transformative power of the Cross with all of its agonies and darkness than Our Blessed Mother. She can leads us into the depths of Christ’s love for us in our darkest moments.
The Church has always sought her aid. The Apostles fearful and uncertain in the Upper Room turned trustingly to her firm faith in the nascent Church. Christian disciples throughout Church history suffering every form of affliction have turned to her for strength, wisdom, and peace. Sailors turn to her to light the way home, just as we must today. Redemptoris Mater again:
As the Council says, “Mary figured profoundly in the history of salvation….Hence when she is being preached and venerated, she summons the faithful to her Son and his sacrifice, and to love for the Father.” For this reason, Mary’s faith, according to the Church’s apostolic witness, in some way continues to become the faith of the pilgrim People of God: the faith of individuals and communities, of places and gatherings, and of the various groups existing in the Church. It is a faith that is passed on simultaneously through both the mind and the heart. Therefore, “the Church in her apostolic work also rightly looks to her who brought forth Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin, so that through the Church Christ may be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful also.”
As we find ourselves tossed about on the waves of the storms of this life we must seek her heavenly aid. We cannot go it alone. She knows the trials, tribulations, and agonies of this life. She who held the infant Son of God in her arms and later held her Crucified Son in her grief-stricken arms knows our suffering. She who held Him with a tenderness and love that cannot be matched by any other human being will hold us in her loving arms and shine brightly in the darkness to light the way. She will stay close to us when all hope seems lost and when we become afraid that we will be capsized by the fierce waves.
Oftentimes when things become uncertain or difficult in this life, we want to find our own solutions. We want to find a way through the storm, but we forget to turn to Christ and His Mother. We forget that it is Christ who steers the boat and Our Lady who lights our way. There is a scene in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings when the fellowship is about to leave Lorien. At their parting, Galadriel hands gifts to each member. She ends with Frodo and gives him a most fitting gift for the one who is called to be the Ring-bearer:
‘And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. ‘In the phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Earendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out. Remember Galadriel and her Mirror!’
The star who shines bright for us in dark places and in the dead of night while we are caught in stormy seas is Mary, Star of the Sea. There is no darkness in this life that can overtake her light because She always reflects the light of her Son. She wants to shine that light into these dark times we find ourselves in. May we turn to her with even greater devotion and love so that She can guide us to the white shores of heaven.
Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.