Historically, especially in the Catholic Bible and Jewish tradition, names are important and often carry great significance.
A few of the many names that have profound meaning in the Bible are Abraham (“father of a multitude”), Sarah (“mother of nations”), Israel (“having power with God”), Peter (“rock”) , and of course, the Most Holy Name of Jesus (“God saves”).
When God bestows a name in Scripture, this is often a clue to His future plans for that person and a sign of their role in salvation history. Mary’s name is no different. She has the role par excellence in salvation history as the Christ-bearer, the Mother of the world’s Savior.
The question of the meaning of Mary’s name has more than one answer because it can actually have several meanings. It is uncertain which ancient language “Mary” is derived from (whether Egyptian or Hebrew), what specific root word it stems from, and what senses of grammar are involved with its interpretation. However, there are several good candidates for the root word:
“bitterness,” “sea,” “bitter sea,” “light,” “Star of the Sea,” “Lady of the sea,” “myrrh of the sea,” “mistress of the sea,” “loved by the Lord,” “Lady,” “beautiful one,” “beautiful lady,” and “ruling one.”
Interestingly, all these candidates fit with what the Church teaches about the theological significance of the Mother of God. Thus, the simple name of Mary helps reveal the indescribable beauty of Our Lady and her robust and profound role as our Mediatrix and Mother.
Today the Church venerates the Most Holy Name of Mary because of her unique privilege as the Mother of God, the holiest of all God’s creatures, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her name is therefore a royal one of the highest order and, as such, should be given the greatest honor after that of her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.
You can honor the Holy Name of Mary every day with our Ave Maria mug! The beautiful engraved “AM” monogram on the front is called the “Auspice Maria,” which means “under the protection of Mary,” and can also mean “Ave Maria.” Featuring a soft, black, matte exterior and an interior of vibrant Marian blue, this mug is the perfect way to make sure every morning honors Our Lady. Available today at The Catholic Company!