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Exciting News on the Litany of Loreto

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By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

Pope Francis has added three new titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Litany of Loreto, the Vatican announced on June 20. The new titles are "Mother of Mercy," "Mother of Hope," and "Comfort of Migrants."

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy and the Discipline of the Sacraments, announced these additions in a letter to bishops. He said, "The titles and invocations, which Christian piety has reserved for the Virgin Mary over the course of the centuries, as the privileged and sure way to an encounter with Christ, are innumerable. Even in this present moment, which is marked by feelings of uncertainty and trepidation, devout recourse to her, which is full of affection and trust, is deeply felt by the People of God."

As you may recall, last year I published a series of reflections on each of the Blessed Mother's titles as they appear in the Litany of Loreto. In light of the latest additions, I will explain each of these new titles, beginning with "Mother of Mercy."

The title "Mother of Mercy" is near and dear to the hearts of us Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. In fact, the province in which we Marians in the United States live is called the "Mother of Mercy Province." There's a profound connection between the titles "Immaculate Conception" and "Mother of Mercy." In fact, Mary's Immaculate Conception explains why she deserves the title "Mother of Mercy." The Immaculate Conception is the supreme manifestation of God's mercy. Mary did not become conceived without original sin of her own merit. God bestowed this grace upon her through the merits of Christ. Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), "Mary is the one who experienced mercy in an exceptional way — as no one else" (9).

This profound grace laid the foundation for her "yes" to becoming the Mother of God. Of course, by accepting this role, she quite actually brought Divine Mercy into our world. In his encyclical Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of Truth), Pope John Paul II said: "Mary is Mother of Mercy because her Son, Jesus Christ, was sent by the Father as the revelation of God's mercy. Christ came not to condemn but to forgive, to show mercy" (118).

As a result, Mary is quite actually the Mother of Divine Mercy Himself. But it doesn't end there. The Church says that her mediation of Christ continues today:

... in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, [Mary] cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace.

This motherhood of Mary in the economy of grace lasts without interruption, from the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation, and which she unhesitatingly bore with under the cross, even to the perpetual consummation of all the elect. For after being assumed into heaven, she has not put aside this saving function, but by her manifold intercession, she continues to win the gifts of eternal salvation for us (Lumen Gentium, 61-62).

Just as the Incarnation came to us through Mary's "yes," so do all other graces. Any grace, any mercy we receive, she has something to do with it. That's why she's the Mother of Mercy. Now, God did not need Mary to save the world. He does not need her to bestow His graces and mercies upon us today. Yet, in His love for her, and in His desire for us to have a spiritual mother, He simply chose for it to be this way.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us!

Next month, we'll talk about the second new title added to the Litany of Loreto, "Mother of Hope."

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SMC - Sep 28, 2020

Mary conceived without sin,pray for us who have recourse to thee.

- Sep 8, 2020