Most Holy Mother of God, Save Us!

Icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with SS. George, Theodore and angels, 6th century, Saint Catherine's Monastery.
Icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with SS. George, Theodore and angels, 6th century, Saint Catherine’s Monastery.

O Mary, thou sacred dwelling of the Lord, raise us fallen into a bottomless pit of despair, wrongdoing and affliction; for thou art the salvation and succour and powerful advocate of those that have sinned, and thou dost save thy servants.

Matins, Tone 1, Sessional Hymn.

Let Ten Thousand Influences Rain Down

Altar in Lady Chapel of St. Mary's, Ryde, featuring an image of Our Lady of Walsingham, designed by A.W.N. Pugin.
Altar in Lady Chapel of St. Mary’s, Ryde, featuring an image of Our Lady of Walsingham, designed by A.W.N. Pugin.

“Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For the winter is now past, and the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land … the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come.” It is the time for thy Visitation. Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength into that north country, which once was thine own, and take possession of a land which knows thee not. Arise, Mother of God, and with thy thrilling voice, speak to those who labour with child, and are in pain, till the babe of grace leaps within them! Shine on us, dear Lady, with thy bright countenance, like the sun in his strength, O stella matutina, O harbinger of peace, till our year is one perpetual May. From thy sweet eyes, from thy pure smile, from thy majestic brow, let ten thousand influences rain down, not to confound or overwhelm, but to persuade, to win over thine enemies. O Mary, my hope, O Mother undefiled, fulfil to us the promise of this Spring. John Henry Newman, The Second Spring sermon, preached 13 July 1852, in St. Mary’s, Oscott, in the first Provincial Synod of Westminster.

An Ineffable Fragrancy

Dormition of the Virgin; plaque from a triptych (?) then from a binding. Ivory, Constantinople, late 10th century–early 11th century; Musée national du Moyen Âge.
Dormition of the Virgin; plaque from a triptych (?) then from a binding. Ivory, Constantinople, late 10th century–early 11th century; Musée national du Moyen Âge.

It has been above said, that the holy Pulcheria built many churches to Christ at Constantinople. Of these, however, there is one which was built in Blachernæ, in the beginning of Marcian I’s reign of divine memory. These, therefore, namely, Marcian and Pulcheria, when they had built a venerable temple to the greatly to be celebrated and most holy mother of God and ever Virgin Mary, and had decked it with all ornaments, sought her most holy body, which had conceived God. And having sent for Juvenal, Archbishop of Jerusalem, and the bishops of Palestine, who were living in the royal city on account of the synod then held at Chalcedon, they say to them, “We hear that there is in Jerusalem the first and famous Church of Mary, mother of God and ever Virgin, in the garden called Gethsemane, where her body which bore the Life was deposited in a coffin. We wish, therefore, her relics to be brought here for the protection of this royal city.” But Juvenal answered, “In the holy and divinely inspired Scripture, indeed, nothing is recorded of the departure of holy Mary, mother of God. But from an ancient and most true tradition we have received, that at the time of her glorious falling asleep, all the holy Apostles who were going through the world for the salvation of the nations, in a moment of time borne aloft, came together at Jerusalem. And when they were near her, they had a vision of angels, and divine melody of the highest powers was heard: and thus with divine and more than heavenly glory, she delivered her holy soul into the hands of God in an unspeakable manner. But that which had conceived God being borne with angelic and apostolic psalmody, with funeral rites, was deposited in a coffin in Gethsemane. In this place the chorus and singing of the angels continued for three whole days. But after three days, on the angelic music ceasing, since one of the Apostles had been absent, and came after the third day, and wished to adore the body which had conceived God, the Apostles, who were present, opened the coffin; but the body, pure and every way to be praised, they could not at all find. And when they found only those things in which it had been laid out and placed there, and were filled with an ineffable fragrancy proceeding from those things, they shut the coffin. Being astounded at the miraculous mystery, they could form no other thought, but that He, who in his own person had vouchsafed to be clothed with flesh, and to be made man of the most holy Virgin, and to be born in the flesh, God the Word, and Lord of Glory, and who after birth had preserved her virginity immaculate, had seen it good after she had departed from among the living, to honour her uncontaminated and unpolluted body by a translation before the common and universal resurrection.”

— Narrative of a certain Euthymius, whose report was inserted into a homily of St. John Damascene (hom. II in dormit. B. V. M., 18, P. G., XCVI, 748).

In Me Gratia Omnis

Mother of Divine Grace.
Mother of Divine Grace.

Ego mater pulchræ dilectionis, et timoris, et agnitionis, et sanctæ spei. In me gratia omnis viæ et veritatis: in me omnis spes vitæ et virtutis. Transite ad me, omnes qui concupiscitis me, et a generationibus meis implemini: spiritus enim meus super mel dulcis, et hæreditas mea super mel et favum. Memoria mea in generatione sæculorum. Qui edunt me, adhuc esurient, et qui bibunt me, adhuc sitient. Qui audit me non confundetur, et qui operantur in me non peccabunt: qui elucidant me, vitam æternam habebunt.

It is I that give birth to all noble loving, all reverence, all true knowledge, and the holy gift of hope. From me comes every grace of faithful observance, from me all promise of life and vigour. Hither turn your steps, all you that have learned to long for me; take your fill of the increase I yield. Never was honey so sweet as the influence I inspire, never honey-comb as the gift I bring; mine is a renown that endures, age after age. Eat of this fruit, and you will yet hunger for more; drink of this wine, and your thirst for it is still unquenched. He who listens to me will never be disappointed; he who lives by me will do no wrong; he who reads my lesson aright will find in it life eternal.

— Ecclesiasticus xxiv. 24-31.

Before Thee I Stand

The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Slipper Chapel, Walsingham, Norfolk, England.
The image of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Slipper Chapel (or Chapel of St. Catherine of Alexandria), Walsingham, Norfolk, England.

Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #339 (S. C. Ind., Dec. 11, 1846; S. P. Ap., Sept. 8, 1935) Encr. Ind. #32.

Disdain Not Our Supplications in Our Distress

Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν, καταφεύγομεν, Θεοτόκε. Τὰς ἡμῶν ἱκεσίας, μὴ παρίδῃς ἐν περιστάσει, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ κινδύνων λύτρωσαι ἡμᾶς, μόνη Ἁγνή, μόνη εὐλογημένη.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.