Ad Mariam

 

Madonna 1609
The Madonna, art by Giovanni Battista Salvi – called Sassoferrato (1609-1685) Rome

 

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!

 

 

 

 

The May Magnificat

 

Virgin Mary meditation of the holy Virgin Mary by sarah paxton ball dodson 1889
Meditation of The Holy Virgin (1889), art by Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson

 

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.”

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.


O All-Holy Servant and Mother

 

The Annunciation by El Greco 1577
The Annunciation, art by El Greco (1577, Spain)

 
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 Angelus

 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.
Amen!

 

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!
❤ 

Mary’s Divine Motherhood

 

Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus Solemnity of the Mother of God
Art by Bradi Barth

 

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
and light.

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! 

 

 

 

The Visitation Journey

 

Mary and Elizabeth by brother sylvain of taize
Mary and Elizabeth, art by Brother Sylvain of Taizé 

 

The second bead: scene of the lovely journey
of Lady Mary, on whom artists confer
a blue silk gown, a day pouring out Springtime,
and birds singing and flowers bowing to her.

Rather, I see a girl upon a donkey
and her too held by what was said to mind
how the sky was or if the grass was growing.
I doubt the flowers; I doubt the road was kind.

“Love hurried forth to serve.” I read, approving.
But also see, with thoughts blown past her youth,
a girl riding upon a jolting donkey
and riding further and further into the truth.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

 

O Jesus living in Mary,
come to live in Your servants,
with Your spirit of holiness,
in the fullness of Your power,
in the perfection of Your ways,
in the truth of Your virtues,
and in the communion of Your Divine Mysteries.

In Your Spirit
and for the glory of the Father,
overcome every hostile power!

~ A prayer by Father John J. Olier (d. 1657)

 

The Pool of God

Maria by jan styka
Virgen Maria, art by Jan Styka (1890)

 

There was nothing in the Virgin’s soul
that belonged to the Virgin—
no word, no thought, no image, no intent.
She was  a pure, transparent pool reflecting
God, only God.
She held His burnished day; she held His night
of planet-glow or shade inscrutable.
God was her sky and she who mirrored Him
became His firmament.

When I so much as turn my thoughts toward her
my spirit is enisled in her repose.
And when I gaze into her selfless depths
an anguish in me grows
to hold such blueness and to hold such fire.
I pray to hollow out my earth and be
filled with these waters of transparency.
I think that one could die of this desire,
seeing oneself dry earth or stubborn sod.
Oh, to become a pure pool like the Virgin,
water that lost the semblances of water
and was a sky like God.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

Giving Life to the World

Jesus Icon3
St. John The Baptist (unknown artist)

 

John the Baptizer exhorts us to conversion. No one better than Mary can tell us what this conversion entails.

Conversion means turning away from yourself and turning to God instead. So, conversion is beginning to live as Mary did. She is so overwhelmed by the life growing in her body that she is not at all concerned about her own. Her center is not in herself, but in the life she is to give birth for the salvation of the world.

If you live along with Mary, turned away from yourself and turned toward God, then even you will give life to the world. You get to give birth to Christ. He has himself said: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12:50).

If Christmas were only a celebration of an unusual child born two thousand years ago, then we wouldn’t need a long season of Advent to prepare for it. But Jesus is born within you, and preparation for this birth must be made.

John of the Cross writes in a small poem:

The Virgin with God’s Word
Carried in her womb
Comes toward you
If only you had room. 

If you prepare a room for God, God will become real in you as he was in Mary.

~ An Advent Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Virgin Mary by ladislav Z
Virgin Mary, art by Ladislav Záborský