St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, Spain, was proclaiming the joy of being “a servant of Mary” already in the 7th century. In one of his prayers he brings to full light the idea of Mary’s virginal Motherhood as a model of spiritual life for the Christian.
Mary must obtain for us from the Holy Spirit the grace for Christ to be formed spiritually in us just as she, through the power of the same Spirit, fashioned Christ according to the flesh.
Holy Virgin, I beg you: enable me to receive Jesus from the Spirit, according to the same process by which you bore Jesus.
May my soul possess Jesus thanks to the Spirit through Whom you conceived Jesus.
May the grace to know Jesus be granted to me through the Spirit Who enabled you to know how to possess Jesus and bring Him forth.
May my littleness show forth the greatness of Jesus in virtue of the Spirit in Whom you recognized yourself as the handmaid of the Lord, desiring that it be done to you according to the word of the Angel.
May I love Jesus in the Spirit in Whom you adored Him as your Lord and looked after Him as your Son.
~ St. Ildephonsus of Toledo
~ From the book “Prayers to Mary” by Most Rev. Virgilio Noe
Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race —
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.
I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn —
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.
Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! Nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steeped sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
An her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.
~ A poem by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-89)
Happy Birthday Blessed Virgin Mary! ❤ Ora Pro Nobis!
Mary’s Assumption into heaven does not mean that she traveled away to a far distant land. We imagine heaven to be “up there”. Glory to God in the highest”, we sing in the Gloria, It is not wrong to have this conception, as long as we realize it does not completely convey the reality. Heaven is not a place that lies beyond the limits of the universe, but a dimension we cannot perceive with our earthly senses. Because Mary has been taken up into heaven, she has not therefore left us. Quite the contrary. For that very reason she has penetrated more deeply into the world.
As long as Mary lived in her mortal body, she was bound by time and space. She could not be present in more than one place at a time. When she lived with John after Jesus’ Resurrection, she prayed earnestly for the new Church, but she could not be present when the apostles went out to proclaim the Gospel. But after her Assumption into heaven, all the borders burst, and her whole being, including her body, was glorified. A glorified body has no definite contours. It can be present in different places at the same time and take on cosmic dimensions. Through Mary’s Assumption, she passed over to a universal presence from the limited presence that characterized her life on earth. Always and everywhere Mary is with us, wherever we may be and wherever we may go. She fills the whole universe. She is “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:I). When we pray the “Hail Mary” during the day, on the street or at work, we do not speak into a vacuum. Mary is always present. It can give us great joy to discover that Mary’s Assumption into heaven, which appeared to take her far away, really brought her closer to us. Thanks to the Assumption, she is present at the center of our lives.
Neither should we think Mary is in heaven to enjoy undisturbed peace. As long as the fight between light and darkness continues. Mary is involved. We know that Jesus “always lives to make intercession for [us]” (Heb 7:25) , that he goes to “prepare a place for [us]” (Jn 14:2). But he does not do it without his “helper” (cf. Gen 2:20). Even in heaven, Mary lives only for her Son and his redemptive work.
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
Our Lady is so transparent, so luminous, that she might be taken for light itself; yet for all that, she is but a mirror of the Sun of Justice.
~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.
Let us draw near to the Virgin most pure, who is all lightsome, so that she may lead us to understand Him whom she understands so deeply.
~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.
Wishing you all a very blessed feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
“The Lord promised that He would dwell in a cloud.” ~ 2 Chronicles 6:1
Symbol of star or lily of the snows,
rainbow or root or vine or fruit-filled tree:
these image the immaculate to me
less than a little cloud, a little light cloud rising
from Orient waters cleft by prophecy.
And as the Virgin in a most surprising
maternity bore God in the mysteries of grace
beseech her: Cloud, encompass God and me.
Nothing defiled can touch the cloud of Mary.
God as a child willed to be safe in her,
and the Divine Indweller sets His throne
deep in a cloud in me, His sanctuary.
I pray, O wrap me, Cloud, . . . light Cloud of Carmel
within whose purity my vows were sown
to lift their secrecies to God alone.
Say to my soul, the timorous and small
house of a Presence that it cannot see
and frightened acre of a Deity,
say in the fullness of your clemency:
I have enclosed you all.
You are in whiteness of a lighted lamb wool;
you are in softness of a summer wind lull.
O hut of God, deepen your faith anew.
Enfolded in this motherhood of mine,
all that is beautiful and all divine
is safe in you.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
On my way to Heaven, Where I shall see you, Your beloved image accompanies me on my earthly journey to be my Perpetual Help. You know how your sweet image captivates my soul, Near you I breath the fragrance of love, And find my peace in your gaze. Your maternal smile shone above me, When I was good, When I erred, sad was your gaze upon me. My childish prayer you welcomed with caresses and maternal love, I look upon you and weep no longer, For I anticipate my Heaven. My Mother, support me in the terrors of my battle for God on earth, To bring to Him my prisoners of war, A thousand souls for His love. Image of Mary, be always for me A rich honeycomb of love, To sweeten the bitterness of death;
My eyes to ever draw from you my consolation. From this earth to you I go Throwing myself into your arms, To rest forever in your sweet embrace, which none will ever take from me.
~ A poem by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, O.C.D.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, ora pro nobis!
The Church of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri stands out among the many churches in Rome…not for its’ external beauty but for what it contains: The original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
About the Image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
The original painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is, perhaps, the most widely-recognized icon in the world.
The image was, for some time, kept in Saint Matthew’s Church in Rome. Then in 1798, the church was destroyed by Napoleon’s forces. In January 1855, the Redemptorist Order purchased a villa located here for their headquarters. They were unaware of the fact that the land they had purchased was actually the location of the church and monastery of Saint Matthew–the place which the Virgin Mary had specified for the image to be placed in an earlier vision.
The Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) hangs above the main altar.
It is not very large, about 16 x 20″. But it is of great significance to many Catholics who have sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To stand in front of the icon–quite often un-disturbed by other visitors– is a wonderful experience.
*This information has been taken from The Catholic Travel Guide.
Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance, While you, full moon, wise queen, Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven, And travel no less stately in the summer sky Than Mary, going to the house of Zachary.
The woods are silent with the sleep of doves, The valleys with the sleep of streams, And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest. Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheat Preach and say prayers: You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours, Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and barn, Seems to have seen, this day, Into the secret of the Lord’s Nativity.
Now at the fall of night, you shocks, Still bend your heads like kind and humble kings The way you did this golden morning when you saw God’s Mother passing, While all our windows fill and sweeten With the mild vespers of the hay and barley.
You moon and rising stars, pour on our barns and houses Your gentle benedictions. Remind us how our Mother, with far subtler and more holy influence, Blesses our rooves and eaves, Our shutters, lattices and sills, Our doors, and floors, and stairs, and rooms, and bedrooms, Smiling by night upon her sleeping children: O gentle Mary! Our lovely Mother in heaven!
~ A poem by Thomas Merton
Happy & Blessed Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
When a sister, born for each strong month-brother, Spring’s one daughter, the sweet child Mary, Lies in the breast of the young year-mother With light on her face like the waves at play, Man from the lips of him speaketh and saith, At the touch of her wandering wondering breath Warm on his brow: lo! where is another Fairer than this one to brighten our day?
We have suffered the sons of Winter in sorrow And been in their ruinous reigns oppressed, And fain in the springtime surcease would borrow From all the pain of the past’s unrest; And May has come, hair-bound in flowers, With eyes that smile thro’ the tears of the hours, With joy for to-day and hope for to-morrow And the promise of Summer within her breast!
And we that joy in this month joy-laden, The gladdest thing that our eyes have seen, Oh thou, proud mother and much proud maiden — Maid yet mother as May hath been — To thee we tender the beauties all Of the month by men called virginal. And, where thou dwellest in deep-groved Aidenn, Salute thee, mother, the maid-month’s Queen!
For thou, as she, wert the one fair daughter That came when a line of kings did cease, Princes strong for the sword and slaughter, That, warring, wasted the land’s increase, And like the storm-months smote the earth Till a maid in David’s house had birth, That was unto Judah as Mary, and brought her A son for King, whose name was peace.
Wherefore we love thee, wherefore we sing to thee, We, all we, thro’ the length of our days, The praise of the lips and the hearts of us bring to thee, Thee, oh maiden. most worthy of praise; For lips and hearts they belong to thee Who to us are as dew unto grass and tree, For the fallen rise and the stricken spring to thee, Thee, May-hope of our darkened ways!
~ A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) , S.J.
Happy Mother’s Day Blessed Virgin Mary, my heavenly Mother! Ora pro nobis!
May is Mary’s month, and I Muse at that and wonder why: Her feasts follow reason, Dated due to season —
Candlemas, Lady Day; But the Lady Month, May, Why fasten that upon her, With a feasting in her honour?
Is it only its being brighter Than the most are must delight her? Is it opportunest And flowers finds soonest?
Ask of her, the mighty mother: Her reply puts this other Question: What is Spring? Growth in everything —
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather, Grass and greenworld all together; Star-eyed strawberry-breasted Throstle above her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin Forms and warms the life within; And bird and blossom swell In sod or sheath or shell.
All things rising, all things sizing Mary sees, sympathising With that world of good, Nature’s motherhood.
Their magnifying of each its kind With delight calls to mind How she did in her stored Magnify the Lord.
Well but there was more than this: Spring’s universal bliss Much, had much to say To offering Mary May.
When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple Bloom lights the orchard-apple And thicket and thorp are merry With silver-surfed cherry.
And azuring-over greybell makes Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes And magic cuckoocall Caps, clears, and clinches all —
This ecstasy all through mothering earth Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth To remember and exultation In God who was her salvation.
~ A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ
“Mother of God, tell me your mystery; of how your earthly life was spent: the way, right from the time of ‘Fiat – how you’d be buried in adoration, Mary! Say how – in a peace, a silence – you could enter in to deeps that none but you could do – bearing the gift of God within. Secure in God’s embrace keep me I ask. In me his imprint may He place – For wholly love is he.”
In the Liturgy of the Visigothic Church the prayers are woven essentially from Biblical texts, solidly grounded in theology, and enriched with true emotion.
Prayers abounding in their formulation span the centuries and echo the notes of blessing and invocation of Mary that resounded in ancient Spain.
Possibly for the first time in the history of Marian devotion, these prayers speak of Mary’s spiritual Motherhood, and they highlight the maternal ways of the mercy of God that are present in her.
They also inculcate the devotion of the “slavery” of love of Mary and the attitude of filial confidence to have toward Mary.
Because of these features, such prayers have an air of relevance about them.
O All-Holy Servant and Mother of the Divine Word, childbirth revealed you to be a virgin and virginity made you fruitful.
Gather in your devout embrace the people who have recourse to you.
In your profound mercy take care of the flock that was redeemed by the Blood of the Son Whom you have brought forth.
Show yourself a Mother to creatures, for you gave nourishment to their Creator. Bless with your service those whom you see offering themselves to you in homage.
Grant that we may be protected by your intercession for we exult in bearing the sweet yoke of your servitude.
And grant that all of us who have sung praises in honor of your conception may continue to live in your service, so that once the stain of sin has been removed we may attain the One Whose Mother we honor you to be by our celebrations.
Defend us now and forever with your inexhaustible affection so that the One Whom you brought forth may possess us eternally in His Kingdom.
~ By Most rev. Virgilio Noe
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen!
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh.
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord.
This beautiful prayer evolved from a recitation of three Hail Mary’s following an evening bell around the 12th century to its present form (with morning and midday recitations) in the 16th century.
Wishing you All a very Blessed Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord! ❤
Syria has always enjoyed a rich lyrical tradition dedicated to singing the praises of Mary. The Church of Antioch rendered a special cult to the Mother of God even before the Council of Ephesus: the events that have marked the Nestorian crisis bear witness to the great extent to which belief in Mary’s Divine Motherhood was diffused among the faithful and rooted in their hearts.
Prayer texts are rich in a theology centered on the Divine Motherhood. Their poetry is simple and characterized by a penetrating tenderness.
Among the great Marian hymnists besides Ephrem the Syrian is numbered James of Sarug (451-521). The Syrian-Maronite Liturgy borrows heavily from his lyrical treasures.
~ By Rev. Virgilio Noe
BLESSED are you, O Mary,
and blessed is your holy soul,
for your beatitude
surpasses that of all the Blessed.
Blessed are you who have borne, embraced,
and caressed as a baby
the One Who upholds the ages
with His secret word.
Blessed are you, from whom the Savior
appeared on this exile earth,
subjugating the seducer
and bringing peace to the world.
Blessed are you, whose pure mouth touched
the lips of the One Whom the seraphim
do not dare to look upon in His splendor.
Blessed are you, who have nourished
with your pure milk
the source from Whom the living obtain life
Blessed are you, because the whole universe
resounds with your memory,
and the Angels and human beings celebrate
your feast. . .
Daughter of the poor,
she became the Mother of the King of kings.
She gave to the poor world
the riches that can make it live.
She is the bark laden with the goodness
and the treasures of the Father,
Who sent His riches once again
into our empty home. . .
~ A poem by James of Sarug
Wishing you all a very blessed Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God!