Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows

Let us adore Christ, the Savior of the world, who called his mother to share in his passion.

I've yet to meet a photograph that captures the grandeur of this statue, found in St Lucy Church back home in Newark, but here is the one place where I can stand before Our Lady and simply let my heart be moved.  Here she is a beautiful queen in mourning, with simultaneous sorrow and hope in her eyes.  May we all be blessed with such hope in God amid our sorrows.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

There is something about the crux gemmata that has always captivated me.  The cross, this instrument of torture , has become for us the vehicle of salvation (and so much more)!  That's probably part of why the Anglo-Saxon poem Dream of the Rood has been a favorite of mine ever since I first discovered its existence in high school.  I reread it every year on today's feast.

     Listen! The choicest of visions I wish to tell,
     which came as a dream in middle-night,
     after voice-bearers lay at rest.
     It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree
     born aloft, wound round by light,
     brightest of beams. All was that beacon
     sprinkled with gold. Gems stood
     fair at earth's corners; there likewise five
     shone on the shoulder-span. All there beheld the Angel of God,
     fair through predestiny. Indeed, that was no wicked one's gallows,
     but holy souls beheld it there,
     men over earth, and all this great creation.
     Wondrous that victory-beam--and I stained with sins,
     with wounds of disgrace. I saw glory's tree
     honored with trappings, shining with joys,
     decked with gold; gems had
     wrapped that forest tree worthily round...

That's just the preview.  Go read the whole thing for yourself; it's tiny for an epic poem, and entirely worth your while...

[Translation credit to Jonathan A. Glenn, University of Central Arkansas]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hymn for the Nativity of Mary

Today is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Below is the hymn prescribed by the Church for Lauds (Morning Prayer) in the OF.  English translation from the Mundelein Psalter.

O Mary, Mistress of the world,
And Queen of heaven's blissful court,
O gleaming Star of life's wide sea,
And Virgin Mother, pure as snow.

To our poor earth, fair daughter, come,
In all your virgin glory, shine,
For you will bear most noble Flow'r,
When God the Son comes down as man.

Your birth from David's chosen stem,
We venerate with joy this day
You form our hope of Light to come,
To gladden and relieve our woe.

We dwell on earth, but through your prayer
Access to heaven we can win,
Once ransomed by the sacrifice
Of Christ your Son in which we share.

For ever glory and all praise
Be rendered to the Trinity,
Who gave to you a mother's place
Within the Church in name and grace. Amen.
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