Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday - day of Our Blessed Lady

Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix

Now therefore, pray for us, for thou art a holy woman, and one fearing God. (Judith 8:29)
And who knoweth if thou art not therefore come to the kingdom that thou mightest be ready for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14).
My daughter, I will seek rest for thee and will provide that it may be well with thee. (Ruth 3:1)
And the King arose to meet her....and a throne was set for the King's Mother, and she sat on His right hand. And she said to Him: I desire one small petition of Thee, do not put me to confusion. And the King said to her: My Mother ask: for I must not turn away thy face. (3 Kings 2:19,20).
What dost thou desire should be given to thee, and for what thing asketh thou? Although thou shouldst ask the half of my kingdom thou shalt have it. (Esther 5:6).

"PRAY for us, O holy Mother of God."
All thorugh this Litany we have been reiterating the words, "Pray for us." After each endearing title applied to Our Blessed Lady they have come as the refrain. And now, reversing the order, we start with them with as much freshness and ardour as if we had never said them before, and attaching to them a title of which we have already made use, the very second on the list, "Holy Mother of God." Why have we selected that particular one for repetition? It is not difficult to respond to that question. Is it not becasue she is that which we say, the very Mother of God Himself, that we do beseech and importune her to plead for us to the Most High? Is it not that very prerogative that gives her the power to help us? St Bernard says: "She hath wherewith to boast, not in itself that she is Mother, but in that He whom she bore was her Son". And St Athanasius, addressing our Lady, cries out: "It becomes thee, as being Mother of God, Queen, Lady and Mistress, for the sake of the King, Lord, God and Master, born of thee, to be mindful of us, as thou standest by Him who....grants thee all graces - whence thou art called full of grace, as though full of joy on account of the coming of the Holy Ghost upon thee. Wherefore all the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance (Ps 94) enriched with such things, and ...we cry to thee: Be mindful of us, most holy Virgin, and grant to us for these small words great gifts from the riches of thy graces, O thou full of grace." (Orat. in Deip. Annunt.). And can we not turn to her lovingly and say confidingly, when we see with her divine Offspring in her arms: "Behold, He is in thy hands; it is not lawful for the King to deny thee anything?" So sweet Mother, we ask boldly, and repeat all the petitions we have made throughout this Litany. The desires of our heart are before thee, and their inmost groaning is not hidden from thee. Remember us when it is well with thee, and it is always well with thee, for the Lord is ever with thee. Turn not then a deaf ear to our prayers, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. In our early years, in mid life, when our course is nearing its term, O Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Plead with thy divine Son, by His love for His eternal Father, by His love for thee His holy Mother, by the love of His Heart for souls, to grant our requests, especially the one for grace to love Him with our whole hearts. Let us cry out with St Augustine: "O blessed Mary....let our supplication come into thy hallowed presence, and give us in return the remedies for our diseases"; and with St Bernard: "Let us embrace the footsteps of Mary and cast ourselves with earnest entreaties at her blessed feet; let us hold her, and let her not go except she blesses us, for she is able (St Bernard, Sermon on Apoc.)

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

Credits: text after "My Queen and my Mother" by R.G.S. Both paintings depicting Our Blessed Mother with Saints by Florentine master Mariotto Albertinelli.