The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe

 

Mother Mary
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Anne  ~ (Photo taken by me at The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec, Canada)

 

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 —
Mary Immaculate,
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!

 

The Assumption of Mary: A New Presence

 

Mary Assumption
Assumption of the Virgin, art by Guercino (Giovani Francesco Barbieri) 1650 – Detroit Institute of Arts.

 

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 Cloud of Carmel

 

Virgo Maria
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Art source unknown)

 

“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.

To Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

 

Church-StAlphonsus-Liguori-Our-Lady-Perpetual-Help-pilgrim-info03
Byzantine Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

 

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.

*For more information about Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, please check:
https://www.pilgrim-info.com/church-st-alphonsus-liguori-rome/

 

 

Wishing you all a happy & blessed Feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour!

The Evening of the Visitation

 

 

The Visitaion art by Angiolo D'Andrea
The Visitation art by Angiolo D’Andrea (1880-1942)

 

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! 

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.