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OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS

Father Francis's picture
Our Lady Help of Christians

We honour Our Lady Help of Christians today, one of the many beautiful titles she has, which was formally given to her by Pope Pius V following the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. This battle was a decisive victory for Christian Europe against the Muslim Turks. The Christian forces had placed themselves in Mary's care and it was through her protection that the Turkish threat was averted.

Mary’s intercession is so powerful because of her closeness to Jesus, her beloved Son. It was she who persuaded Him to perform His first miracle, changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana, after noticing there was a problem. She then told the servants to do whatever Jesus said, for she knew her Son would refuse her nothing. Although His time had not yet come Jesus responded to His mother's concern for the bride and groom.

Mary was Jesus' first disciple and by her example she can help us to be good disciples. She trusted Jesus, even when she did not fully understand His actions, and learnt to understand more and more by pondering on His words. She followed Him faithfully, even as far as the Cross, and was always ready to do God's will, no matter what pain it cost her.

There are many non-Catholics who regard Our Lady not only as an obstacle, but the obstacle, to Christian unity. This is not true because under her title of Help of Christians she is the mother of all who try to follow Christ. Her Son prayed that we might all be one, and we can be sure that His mother is tirelessly working to fulfil that wish.

We know that we can call on Our Lady's help whenever our faith is in danger, or when we undergo temptation. St. Cosmas of Jerusalem says, "The help of Mary is all-powerful to deliver us from sin and hell." Like any good mother, Mary never wants to lose any of her children and so at Fatima she told the three children to teach us to say the following prayer after each decade of the Rosary. "Oh Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy." We can confidently place ourselves in Mary's care every day, asking her to help us avoid sin.

There is no-one better than Our Blessed Lady to lead us to make a good Communion and a fervent thanksgiving, for Jesus was happiest on this Earth when He was with His mother. She always wants her children to be reconciled to the Father and her Son, and so she is ready to assist we sinners to make a sincere Confession. She brought Jesus into the world and she wants to lead all her children to Him.

Finally, let us ask Our Lady to protect our Holy Father the Pope, and help all Bishops and priests to be close and true to Jesus, that they may be His faithful leaders and teachers.

Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us all.