Mary, Vessel of Honor ~ Cardinal Newman

Stabat MaterThe Virgin Mary is venerated with the title Vessel of Honor. Blessed John Henry Newman reminds us that according to St. Paul Christians are vessels of honor. And some -the martyrs – have been treated with blasphemy and vile crimes. The most Virgin Mary suffered an interior martyrdom, “But He, who bore the sinner’s shame for sinners, spared His Mother, who was sinless, this supreme indignity.”

Holy Mary, Vessel of Honor, we venerate you for having carried within you the Son of God and for having suffered so greatly in his Passion; we wish to join our small sufferings to yours.

May 19
Mary is the “Vas Honorabile,” the Vessel of Honour

ST. PAUL calls elect souls vessels of honour: of honour, because they are elect or chosen; and vessels, because, through the love of God, they are filled with God’s heavenly and holy grace. How much more then is Mary a vessel of honour by reason of her having within her, not only the grace of God, but the very Son of God, formed as regards His flesh and blood out of her!

But this title “honorabile,” as applied to Mary, admits of a further and special meaning. She was a martyr without the rude dishonour which accompanied the sufferings of martyrs. The martyrs were seized, haled about, thrust into prison with the vilest criminals, and assailed with the most blasphemous words and foulest speeches which Satan could inspire. Nay, such was the unutterable trial also of the holy women, young ladies, the spouses of Christ, whom the heathen seized, tortured, and put to death. Above all, our Lord Himself, whose sanctity was greater than any created excellence or vessel of grace—even He, as we know well, was buffeted, stripped, scourged, mocked, dragged about, and then stretched, nailed, lifted up on a high cross, to the gaze of a brutal multitude.

But He, who bore the sinner’s shame for sinners, spared His Mother, who was sinless, this supreme indignity. Not in the body, but in the soul, she suffered. True, in His Agony she was agonised; in His Passion she suffered a fellow-passion; she was crucified with Him; the spear that pierced His breast pierced through her spirit. Yet there were no visible signs of this intimate martyrdom; she stood up, still, collected, motionless, solitary, under the Cross of her Son, surrounded by Angels, and shrouded in her virginal sanctity from the notice of all who were taking part in His Crucifixion.

Meditations and Devotions,  see www.newmanreader.org

4 Comment(s)
  • Dayalan Bernard Posted July 5, 2015 10:06 pm

    Very good article on the Blessed Virgin Mary, pl. share more such !!

    • Fr. Juan Velez Posted July 5, 2015 10:18 pm

      Thank you. Blessed Newman grew in devotion to Mary and drew wonderful insights into her role in salvation history from the Church Fathers.

  • Ann Posted July 12, 2016 12:25 am

    Our Lay Carmelite community is praying the Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel these 9 days before the July 16th feast and my topic is to present something about Mary, Vessel of Honor. Your article is excellent and I will share it with my brothers and sisters this coming Thursday evening when it’s my turn to present. Thank you very much and may God bless you abundantly! Ann

    • Fr. Juan Velez Posted July 12, 2016 4:15 am

      I am glad to hear this and wish you in advance a happy feast day of Our Lady. May God bless your community.

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