Mother of Holy Hope
Fr. Sebastian MacDonald, CP
Our Blessed Mother’s continual guiding presence marked the beginnings of the Passionist Congregation. Our tradition has it that she made known to our Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, the mission God had assigned to him-that of founding the Passionists.
St. Paul of the Cross cherished a tender filial devotion to Mary and honored her particularly under the titles of Our Mother of Sorrows and Our Mother of Holy Hope. Here is a reflection by Fr. Sebastian MacDonald, C.P, on the Church’s observance of Mary, Mother of Holy Hope.
On the liturgical calendar proper to the Passionists is a celebration honoring Mary as Mother of Holy Hope. This takes place on July 9th. It is one of three Marian devotions that Passionists especially celebrate, the other two being: Our Lady of Sorrows, and Mary’s Assumption into heaven.
The current attention fastening on hope, thanks to the focus on it provided by Pope Benedict XVI in his first encyclical, as well as the anxiety throughout society about the hopeless condition of the economic situation, recommends renewed attention to Mary under this title. The basis for this lies in the intercessory powers Mary enjoys before the throne of God, on behalf of those praying to her. And, more pointedly, so far as Passionists are concerned, is the hope all of us place in the sufferings and death of Christ to win for us favor from God, and deliverance from our sins. Given Mary’s prominence on Calvary as the Sorrowful Virgin, her status as Mother of Holy Hope is understandable.
At the foot of the cross Mary acquired a spirit of compassion generating within her a sensitivity, not only to the sufferings of her Son, but also to the problems of us all along life’s pathways. This compassion endows her with a special kind of knowledge enabling her to see and appreciate what we are experiencing, and this in turn gives us hope that she will be of help to us.
The church has borrowed this feast from us Passionists, and incorporated it into a celebration available to the church at large. It is too significant to be confined just to our own ranks.