Santa Marija! A name that brings to mind so many different feelings and thoughts, feelings of joy, thoughts of love and moments of inner peace! The role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Co-Redemptrix and Co-Mediatrix together with her Son, between God the Father and humanity is a subject that has been discussed since time immemorial! It is the ancient belief of the Church, that Mary, through her Immaculate Conception and her Assumption into Heaven, has reserved for herself a special place next to the throne of her Son from where she intercedes for us, “poor banished children of Eve”.
As for us, the people of the Maltese islands, the Solemnity of the 15th of August is dearer still. It was on the May 14, 1848 that through a decree signed by Bishop Publius Maria Sant, the Blessed Virgin Mary assumed into heaven was solemnly proclaimed as the special Patron and Protector of the Maltese archipelago. This is not to say that the devotion of our forefathers to Santa Marija began in the nineteenth century. The Marian cult in our islands goes back to the early stages of Christianity in our islands. Chapels of Santa Marija used to stand on Ta’ Dbieġi Hill on the way to San Lawrenz and even on the island of Filfla with the tower of Comino known unto this very day as It-Torri ta’ Santa Marija. Eight parish churches in Malta, the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary and the Żebbuġ and Cathedral parishes in Gozo are dedicated to her. The Virgin Mary’s intercession on the eve of her Solemnity of the year 1942 is the subject of legendary stories, so strong is the belief of our nation in the protection of the Mother of God.
Every August, Victoria goes en fête once again. August reminds us of our duty to express our love for the Woman who alone among her race, was given the privilege to be assumed into Heaven with both body and soul, a condition that will only be bestowed upon us at the end of days, when “with the trumpet call of God” (1 Thess 4:16) the dead in Christ will rise again and receive their eternal reward. Until that day, we are called to look upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to show us the way to Him who is seated at the right hand of the Father.
We would like to wish a happy feast to our brethren of the Cathedral Parish who are celebrating the festivities in honour of our Heavenly Mother; and to all of you who follow us, we wish il-Festa t-tajba! And don’t forget to go Mass, find time to pray the Holy Rosary and visit the Cathedral Church to pay homage to her who gave birth to our one and only Saviour! May our city of Victoria continue to be a Marian haven where the Mother of God reigns as our celestial Queen!
“Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum!”. It is therefore right and just to give her our love and praise.
Photo: Ray Grech