Salutations to one and all! How are you? Hope you’re doing well. One of my favorite television shows growing up was the 1960s version of
By and large, it was a program which had campy comedy, colorful characters, and a light-hearted approach to the classic comic book hero. Recent adaptations of Batman have portrayed the Caped Crusader with some pretty dark and brooding tones.
This is understandable to a certain extent, given the gritty source material and the desire to make the superhero seemingly more realistic. At the same time, the Batman of the 60s played so well by Adam West with his trusty sidekick Robin - who was played by Burt Ward - is worth watching for its depiction of holiness…well at least the one-liners uttered by Robin with the word “Holy” in them.
According to some very devoted fans of the show, Robin said a variation of the line, “Holy _________, Batman!” more than 350 times! Some of the more memorable lines include, “Holy Fireworks!” and “Holy Stampede!” and “Holy Ice Skates!” Oftentimes the Boy Wonder would say these somewhat unusual phrases as a form of surprise or exclamation at the circumstances presented to him or Batman. For instance, if there was a swirling whirlwind of air he might have exclaimed, “Holy Tornado, Batman!” If Robin would be quoting a passage from the Old Testament (Isaiah 6:3) or the New Testament (Revelation 4:8) he could have said, “Holy, holy, holy!” If the Boy Wonder would be talking about the optional memorial which we celebrate today he could have said, “Holy Name of Mary, Batman!”
Liturgically, today’s memorial traces its roots back to year of 1513 in Spain. It was not until 1683 that Pope Innocent XI promulgated the celebration of Our Blessed Mother’s Name for the universal Church. From the earliest days of the Christian faith there are various interpretations of what her name could actually mean. If it was derived from the Hebrew name of Miryam - like the sister of Moses - then it could mean “Lady.” There are other interpretations that her name meant, “Bitter Sea” or “Myrrh of the Sea” or “Enlightened One” but arguably my favorite is “Star of the Sea” (
). When we travel on the waves of the world and it seems to be dark and stormy we can look with hope-filled confidence to the Star of the Sea to guide us to our safe home with her Son, Jesus. There is a pious custom to honor Jesus and Mary by bowing our heads when we hear their names being spoken. Perhaps you can add that to your spiritual repertoire or spiritual toolbox.
On this special day we celebrate the Holy Name of Mary and ask for her prayers to shine forth the Light of Christ in our own words and actions. P
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