Hail, O star that pointest
towards the port of heaven
Thou to whom as Maiden
God for Son was given.”
For over a thousand years the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as Star of the Sea: Ave maris stella… Mary leads the pilgrim church to the rising Morning Star, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary. The Star of the Sea is an image that speaks to those travelling at sea, on land, or more in general to those whose life’s journey is dark and uncertain.
Pope Benedict XVI said:
Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy; a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. These are the lights of hope.”Enclyclical Letter, Spe Salvi, 49
The Magi follow the star, a sign of great hope which they had seen in the East. They follow the star till it rests over the house where they find the child with Mary his mother (Matthew 2:11). They offer their gifts but receive a much greater gift themselves as they see the light of the world, a light that enlightens the nations (Luke 2:32).
Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun of righteousness that has risen above all the shadows of our lives. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along the way.
Follow the star… The events and services under this title in our churches during the holy season of Advent and the people worshipping almighty God through Jesus Christ in them are shining examples and reflections of his light. Like the Milky Way in the night sky, Christians of all generations form a band of pilgrims and journey towards Christmas, and thus prepare a way for the Lord. Let us share in the joy and follow Mary, the Star of the Sea.
So, as now we journey
Aid our weak endeavour,
till we gaze on Jesus
and rejoice for ever.”
Mary, our Star of Hope and Star of the Sea, is our guide on the way. With her ‘yes’ at the Annunciation she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us (John 1:14). Her unique role in the History of Salvation makes Mary a shining example of obedience to God and models perfect discipleship. As a mother, Mary has a particular understanding of the needs of God’s children and as the Mother of Christ a unique relationship and access to him who hears and answers all our prayers. May we follow the Star of the Sea Mary’s example and faithfulness, then we too will shine like stars in the world (Philippians 2:15). Follow the star…
written by Fr Andreas Wenzel, Shrine Priest, Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.