Weapon

Est Rosarium praecipue implorando Matris Dei patrocinio adversus hostes catholici nominis institutum.

Leo P.P. XIII., Salutaris ille spiritus precum, die XXIV. Decembris An. MDCCCLXXXIII.

Our Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula is a Catholic building built by our fathers to be a House of God, for the celebration of the holy Mass, for the praise of God and the saints.

The occupation of our cathedral by Protestants to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is therefore a profanation.

Indeed, the so-called Reformation was really a revolt: under the pretext of combatting abuses, Luther rebelled against the divine authority of the Catholic Church, denied numerous Truths of the Faith, abolished the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, rejected the necessity of good works and the practice of Christian virtues. Finally, he attacked the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the saints, the religious life and monastic vows.

This terrible revolution was a great tragedy for Christian society and for the salvation of souls. And the Lutheran errors are still heresies today because the Truth is eternal.

Extracted from leaflet (original in French) distributed during youth protest of ceremony celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels.

Haile, Quene and Emperyse!

William Dyce, The Virgin and Child, 1845.
William Dyce, The Virgin and Child, 1845.

ROISS MARY MOST OF VERTEW VIRGIN ALL.

ROISS Mary most of vertew virginall.
Fresche flowr on quhom the hevynnis dewe doun fell.
O gemme joynit in joye angelicall,
In quhom Jhesu rejosit wes to dwell.
Rute of refute, of mercy spring and well,
Of ladyis chois as is of letteris A,
Empress of hevyne, of paradyss, and hell,
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O sterne that blyndis Phebus bemys bricht,
With course above the hevynnis cristallyne;
Above the speir of Saturne hie on hicht,
Surmunting all the angelis ordouris nyne;
O lamp lemand befoir the trone devyne!
Quhar cherubyne syngis sweit Osanna,
With organe, tympane, harpe, and symbilyne;
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O chast conclaif of clene virginite,
That closit Crist but crymes criminale;
Tryumphand tempill of the Trinite,
That turned us fra Tartar eternall:
Princes of peiss, and palme imperiall,
Our wicht invinsable Sampson sprang the fra,
That with ane buffat bair doune Beliall;
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

Thy blyssit sydis bair the campioun,
The quhilk, with mony bludy woundis, in stour,
Victoriusly discomfeit the dragoun
That reddy wes his pepill to devour;
At hellis ȝettis he gaf hyme na succour,
He brak the barmekyn of that bribour bla,
Quhill all the feyndis trymbillit for reddour:
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O madyne meik, most mediatrix for man,
And moder myld, full of humilite!
Pray thy sone Jhesu, with his woundis wan,
Quhilk deinȝeit him for our trespass to de,
And as he bled his blude vpon a tre,
Us to defend fra Lucifer our fa,
In hevyne that we may syng apon our kne:
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

Hail, purifyet perle! Haile, port of paradyse
Haile, redolent ruby, riche and radyuss!
Haile, clarifyit cristale! Haile, quene and emperyse!
Haile, moder of God! Haile, Virgin glorius!
O gracia plena, tecum Dominus!
With Gabriell that we may syng and say,
Benedicta tu in mulieribus: O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

— Asloan Manuscript, National Library of Scotland.

Not Half Enough Preached

Fra Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin (1441-1447), tempera on panel; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
Fra Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin (1441-1447), tempera on panel; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

But what is the remedy that is wanted? What is the remedy indicated by God Himself? If we may rely on the disclosure of the saints, it is an immense increase of devotion to the Blessed Lady; but, remember, nothing short of an immense one. Here in England, Mary is not half enough preached. Devotion to her is low and thin and poor. It is frightened out of its wits by the sneers of heresy. It is always invoking human respect and carnal prudence, wishing to make Mary so little of a Mary that Protestants may feel at ease about her. Its ignorance of theology makes it unsubstantial and unworthy. It is not the prominent characteristic of our religion which it ought to be. It has no faith in itself. Hence it is that Jesus is not loved, that heretics are not converted, that the Church is not exalted; that souls which might be saints wither and dwindle; that the Sacraments are not rightly frequented, or souls enthusiastically evangelized. Jesus is obscured because Mary is kept in the background. Thousands of souls perish because Mary is withheld from them. It is the miserable, unworthy shadow which we call our devotion to the Blessed Virgin that is the cause of all these wants and blights, these evils and omissions and declines. Yet, if we are to believe the revelations of the saints, God is pressing for a greater, a wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to His Blessed Mother.

Fr. Frederick William Faber, Preface to Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort’s A Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, London: Burns & Lambert, 1863.

She Dispenses

Hence, as it was through the Theotokos alone that the Lord came to us, appeared upon earth and lived among men, being invisible to all before this time, so likewise in the endless age to come, without her mediation, every emanation of illuminating divine light, every revelation of the mysteries of the Godhead, every form of spiritual gift, will exceed the capacity of every created being. She alone has received the all-pervading fulness of Him that filleth all things, and through her all may now contain it, for she dispenses it according to the power of each, in proportion and to the degree of the purity of each. Hence she is the treasury and overseer of the riches of the Godhead. For it is an everlasting ordinance in the heavens that the inferior partake of what lies beyond being, by the mediation of the superior, and the Virgin Mother is incomparably superior to all. It is through her that as many as partake of God do partake, and as many as know God understand her to be the enclosure of the Uncontainable One, and as many as hymn God praise her together with Him. She is the cause of what came before her, the champion of what came after her and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principle of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs and the premise of the teachers of the Church. She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning and the source and root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and consummation of everything holy.

St. Gregory Palamas, A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

It Is Not Here

Maso di Banco, Descent of Mary's Girdle to the Apostle Thomas (c. 1337-1339); Berlin State Museums.
Maso di Banco, Descent of Mary’s Girdle to the Apostle Thomas (c. 1337-1339); Berlin State Museums.

Then the apostles with great honour laid the body in the tomb, weeping and singing through exceeding love and sweetness. And suddenly there shone round them a light from heaven, and they fell to the ground, and the holy body was taken up by angels into heaven.

Then the most blessed Thomas was suddenly brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most blessed body going up to heaven, and began to cry out and say: O holy mother, blessed mother, spotless mother, if I have now found grace because I see you, make your servant joyful through your compassion, because you are going to heaven. Then the girdle with which the apostles had encircled the most holy body was thrown down from heaven to the blessed Thomas. And taking it, and kissing it, and giving thanks to God, he came again into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. He found all the apostles and another great crowd there beating their breasts on account of the brightness which they had seen. And seeing and kissing each other, the blessed Peter said to him: Truly you have always been obdurate and unbelieving, because for your unbelief it was not pleasing to God that you should be along with us at the burial of the mother of the Saviour. And he, beating his breast, said: I know and firmly believe that I have always been a bad and an unbelieving man; therefore I ask pardon of all of you for my obduracy and unbelief. And they all prayed for him. Then the blessed Thomas said: Where have you laid her body? And they pointed out the sepulchre with their finger. And he said: The body which is called most holy is not there. Then the blessed Peter said to him: Already on another occasion you would not believe the resurrection of our Master and Lord at our word, unless you went to touch Him with your fingers, and see Him; how will you believe us that the holy body is here? Still he persists saying: It is not here. Then, as it were in a rage, they went to the sepulchre, which was a new one hollowed out in the rock, and took up the stone; but they did not find the body, not knowing what to say, because they had been convicted by the words of Thomas. Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass in India— he still had on his sacerdotal robes. He, not knowing the word of God, had been brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most holy body of the blessed Mary going up into heaven, and prayed her to give him a blessing. She heard his prayer, and threw him her girdle which she had about her. And the apostles seeing the belt which they had put about her, glorifying God, all asked pardon of the blessed Thomas, on account of the benediction which the blessed Mary had given him, and because he had seen the most holy body going up into heaven. And the blessed Thomas gave them his benediction, and said: Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

— The Passing of Mary (First Latin Form), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8.

XVIII Kalendas Septembres

XVIII KALENDAS SEPTEMBRES ID EST XIIII DIE MENSIS AUGUSTI UIGILIA ADSUMPTIONIS SANCTAE MARIAE

Deus qui uirginalem aulam beatae Mariae, in quam habitares eligere dignatus es, da quaesumus, ut sua nos defensione munitos iocundos faciat suae interesse festiuitati: per.

Super oblata. Magna est domine apud clementiam tuam dei genetricis oratio, quam idcirco de praesenti saeculo transtulisti, ut pro peccatis nostris apud te fiducialiter intercedat: per.

Ad complendum. Concede misericors deus fragilitati nostrae praesidium, ut qui sanctae dei genetricis requiem celebramus, intercessionis eius auxilio a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus: per.

XVIII KALENDAS SEPTEMBRES ID EST XV DIE MENSIS AUGUSTI ADSUMPTIO SANCTAE MARIAE

Ueneranda nobis domine huius est diei festiuitas, in qua sancta dei genetrix mortem subiit temporalem, nec tamen mortis nexibus deprimi potuit, quae filium tuum dominum nostrum de se genuit incarnatum: per.

ALIA AD MISSAM

Famulorum tuorum domine delictis ignosce, et qui placere de actibus nostris non ualemus, genetricis filii tui domini dei nostri intercessione saluemur: per.

Super oblata. Subueniat domine plebi tuae dei genetricis oratio, quam etsi pro conditione carnis migrasse cognoscimus, in caelesti gloria apud te pro nobis orare sentiamus: per.

Ad completa. Mensae caelestis participes effecti imploramus clementiam tuam domine deus noster, ut qui festa dei genetricis colimus, a malis inminentibus eius intercessione liberemur: per.

Sacramentarium Gregorianum.

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.

Mulier Amicta Sole

Fresco depicting the Apocalypse, the Dragon threatening the Woman, on the porch ceiling of the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Poitou, France.
Fresco depicting the Apocalypse, the Dragon threatening the Woman, on the porch ceiling of the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Poitou, France.

Et signum magnum apparuit in caelo: mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus ejus, et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim: et in utero habens, clamabat parturiens, et cruciabatur ut pariat. Et visum est aliud signum in caelo: et ecce draco magnus rufus habens capita septem, et cornua decem: et in capitibus ejus diademata septem, et cauda ejus trahebat tertiam partem stellarum caeli, et misit eas in terram: et draco stetit ante mulierem, quae erat paritura, ut cum peperisset, filium ejus devoraret. Et peperit filium masculum, qui recturus erat omnes gentes in virga ferrea: et raptus est filius ejus ad Deum, et ad thronum ejus, et mulier fugit in solitudinem ubi habebat locum paratum a Deo, ut ibi pascant eam diebus mille ducentis sexaginta. Et factum est praelium magnum in caelo: Michael et angeli ejus praeliabantur cum dracone, et draco pugnabat, et angeli ejus: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Et projectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus, et Satanas, qui seducit universum orbem: et projectus est in terram, et angeli ejus cum illo missi sunt.

Apoc. xii. 1-9.

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.

Confidimus

Apse of Santa Maria de Taüll, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona.
Apse of Santa Maria de Taüll, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona.

Sancta Dei genitrix, semper Virgo beata, benedicta, gloriosa, et generosa, intacta et intemerata, casta et incontaminata, Maria immaculata, electa, et a Deo dilecta, singulari sanctitate praedita, atque omni laude digna, quae es interpellatrix pro totius mundi discrimine, exaudi, exaudi, exaudi nos, sancta Maria. Ora pro nobis, et intercede, et auxiliare ne dedigneris. Confidimus enim et pro certo scimus quia omne quod uis potes impetrare a Filio tuo Domino nostro Iesu Christo, Deo omnipotenti, omnium saeculorum rege, qui uiuit cum Patre, &c.

Holy Mother of God, Virgin ever blest, glorious and noble, chaste and inviolate, Mary Immaculate, chosen and beloved of God, endowed with singular sanctity, worthy of all praise, you are the advocate for the sins (peril) of the whole world; listen, listen, listen to us, holy Mary. Pray for us, intercede for us, disdain not to help us. For we are confident and know for certain that you can obtain all you will from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, God Almighty, the King of Ages, who lives with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. Book of Cerne, Cambridge University Library, MS Ll. 1. 10.

The Glory of Brightness

Image of the Enthroned Virgin and Child from a 12th century copy of St. Augustine's commentary on the last fifty psalms. It was produced at the Benedictine Abbey of Eynsham and displays Anglo-Saxon stylistic elements rare in a manuscript of this date. MS. Bodl. 269 fol. iii recto.
Image of the Enthroned Virgin and Child from a 12th century copy of St. Augustine’s commentary on the last fifty psalms. It was produced at the Benedictine Abbey of Eynsham and displays Anglo-Saxon stylistic elements rare in a manuscript of this date. MS. Bodl. 269 fol. iii recto.

Quam si diligentius aspicias, nihil virtutis est, nihil speciositatis, nihil candoris gloriae, quod ex ea non resplendeat.1

Der Pseudo-Hieronymus-Brief IX “Cogitas me”, ed. Ripberger, §92.

Nis heo nanes haliges mægnes bedæled, ne nanes wlites, ne nanre beorhtnysse; and forðy heo wæs ymbtrymed mid rosen and lilian, þæt hyre mihta wæron mid mihtum underwriðode, and hire fægernys mid clænnysse wlite wære geyht.2

The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church, Vol. I.

1If you consider most diligently, there is nothing of excellence, nothing of beauty, nothing of the glory of brightness, which does not shine brightly from her.

2She is void of no holy virtue, nor any beauty, nor any brightness; and therefore was she encircled with roses and lilies, that her virtues might be supported by virtues, and her fairness increased by the beauty of chastity.

Blameless Woman and Hallowed Man

Tree of Life and Death, painted by Berthold Furtmeyr and found in the third volume of a five-volume missal (circa 1481) commissioned by Bernhard von Rohr, Archbishop of Salzburg.
Tree of Life and Death, painted by Berthold Furtmeyr and found in the third volume of a five-volume missal (circa 1481) commissioned by Bernhard von Rohr, Archbishop of Salzburg.

Benedicta, inquit, tu inter mulieres, quae uitam et uiris et mulieribus peperisti. Ede, inculpabilis femina, inuiolabilem uirum; et sic et feminam saluabis et uirum. Mater generis nostri poenam intulit mundo; genetrix Domini nostri salutem et feminae gessit viro…

Pseudo-Augustine, Sermo cxx, PL 39, 1985.