February 16, 2007

From the Editor Emeritus / John F. Fink

Here are some traditional Marian prayers

John F. Fink(Seventeenth in a series)

It’s a shame that so many Catholics today are unaware of some of the Church’s prayers to Mary. Here are some of them:

First, there’s the Salve Regina, which originated in the 11th century: “Hail, Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!”

Another prayer is the Memorare, attributed to St. Bernard (although it’s doubtful that he was the real author): “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother! To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

The Church considers The Magnificat so important that it includes it in vespers (or evening prayer) every day. It’s the prayer that Mary herself recited during the Visitation: Unfortunately, I don’t have room to quote it in this column.

Another prayer is this one: “Loving mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.”

The Angelus is considered a Marian prayer (although it really is a declaration of faith in the Incarnation). Church bells ring three times a day to remind us to pray it. It goes like this: “The angel of the Lord declared to Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Spirit. (Hail Mary.) Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your will. (Hail Mary.) 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 you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your 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 Christ our Lord. Amen.”

During the Easter season, the Church recommends the Regina Coeli: “Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia. The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia, has risen as he said, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia! For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia!”

These are traditional Marian prayers. Others can be found in Catholic prayer books. †

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