HOMILY for the Memorial of the Patronage of BVM over the Order
Until recently today’s memorial was kept on 22 December because the Order was approved by Pope Honorius III on that date in 1216, but it was moved to this month of May which is traditionally the month of Mary – a special month set aside by the Church to remember the intercession and holiness of Our Lady, and for all of us to honour her. As May heralds the arrival of Spring and blossoms, so we remember Mary because as our Holy Father Pope Benedict said: “She is, in fact, the most beautiful flower to blossom in creation, the ‘rose’ that appeared in the fullness of time, when God, sending his Son [through Mary], gave the world a new spring”. So, today we thank God for Our Lady’s motherhood, for her special role in our salvation, and for her on-going protection and care for each of us, and especially for the Dominicans who were once called the ‘Friars of Mary’.
For one of the earliest Dominican texts, the ‘Lives of the Brethren’, written in the 1250s begins by saying that the Order of Preachers was “the fruit of the Virgin Mary’s prayers”. Because Our Lady desires that all people should come to know the Truth, that is, to know her Son and so, to find that peace which the world cannot give. Thus she prayed that Providence would establish on earth an Order dedicated to preaching the Truth of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls, that is, so that Man might be at peace and friendship with God. And so he did!