I am fascinated by the halo of stars that often adorns Mary’s head. Today as I was reading on Marian devotion, I saw an image online that had no stars, but pointed to them, at least one. Here the Holy Mother was to be seen with a rosary and the words, “you are my one true north.” Prior to this I had listened to Sting’s “Why Should I Cry for You.” It is a rather despairing song, but I was not listening for that as much as one line, “would north be true.” It is a sailor’s plea that the clouds break that the polar constant may be seen. In a way the plea is appropriate for the month of May when the Church honors the holy virgin and the warming weather turns our thoughts to wandering the vast great earth, a task best done with a compass.
The largest part of a church’s sanctuary is the nave, a medieval Latin word that means ship. It is there we traverse the flood of mortal ills while remembering we have been washed clean in the tide of blood and water. Sanctuaries are often built to face east and the altar is called liturgical east. The reason is obvious as it points to the resurrection. It is true that our destination is east, but as every sailor knows, a destination involves a compass. A compass points in all directions, but it is oriented to the north. Our spiritual lives, which lead us to Resurrection need such orientation and as we traverse our physical plane it is best to know true north.
This is really where our devotion to Mary makes sense. No matter how developed one’s Mariology may be, no one else found such favor with God and no one provides a better example for living than the one who uttered Yes to God’s calling. Whether we offer up prayers to her or just call on her as an example, Mary is the believer’s navigator and the bright star in the chart that points to the brightest star of all.