Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Salve Regina-Hail Holy Queen in Lourdes
This is a very old prayer. In it we ask our fellow human being, Mary who was singled out for special honour by God and prepared by Him to give birth to Jesus. She gave God a human body and thus is very special.
In Christian terminology, the Faithful live forever. Just as we can ask the living to pray for us, we can ask those already with God to pray for us, and the prayers of the human saints,according to the book of Revelations, are wafted out in the incense before the throne of God-these are the prayers of the saints. St Paul says neither life nor death can separate us from the Love of God, so it is perfectly valid to ask Mary and the saints-living and departed to pray for our needs as well, to add 'weight' to our prayers perhaps you might say.
The Hail Holy Queen or 'Salve Regina' asks Mary for her help in exactly this way. We do not worship her, but we honour and revere her. Hanging in agony on the cross, Jesus gave Mary to John to look after-so symbolically giving his human mother to the Church-the new 'Body' of Christ.Also he gave John to Mary (Son behold thy Mother) and from then Mary became the spiritual 'Mother' to the whole Church, fitting as she had been the 'vessel' for the God-Man Jesus coming to earth. Human as she was, she was the new ;ark of the Covenant' as God worked out his plan to save us all from death, introduced only by Adam and Eve. Little vulnerable and youthful Mary, said 'Yes' to God and ensured Jesus could be born to save us. She had free will, she could have refused, the consequences could have been dire in a world where women could be stoned to death for adultery. But God protected her, sent his angel to Blessed St Joseph and made sure she was safe. Jesus went on to establish a visible church on earth through St Peter and the Apostles, who formed a hierarchy to guide the church and keep it free from false doctrine, guided by the Holy Spirit and Will of God.
So we can confidently ask Mary , crowned in heaven with twelve stars to support us in our deepest prayers for Christ, as we can ask other saints, perhaps with the same experiences and quandaries are ourselves to help us pray.
There are may fancy titles for Mary, but all of them refer to the devotion from a particular place to the same young girl, a teenager who devoted her whole life to God and then was taken to live with him. She is a pattern and inspiration for every human person and every Christian and embodies all our hope of conquering death and living in 'blysse' as the mediaeval poets would say. There is OUr Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Walsingham . She is called 'Star of the Sea',by sailors, and many other titles.
The best known prayer is the Hail Mary-taken from the book of St Luke. It uses the original meaning of the words of the Arcangel:Hail Mary, (Roman form of Greeting was ;Ave meaning ;Hi'.)Full of grace (full of the grace of God-no sin and then told that the Lord is there-The Lord is with thee. The Angel tells her she is SpecialBlessed art thou among women.
The next bit comes from where Mary visits Elizabeth who says blessed be the fruit of thy womband Jesus is added for clarity. We then ask Mary who has been made a holy person by her devotion and sacrifice to pray for us, as throughout Mary's life she is close to her son and tells him of the needs of the Faithful-just as she did at the Wedding of Cana when she said 'Son they have no wine'. Jesus always calls her 'woman',the Woman mentioned in Genesis,shadowed by the role of Bathsheba , the Queen Mother of Solomon. The Jewish kings allowed only their mothers to approach them without notice. When Bathsheba comes in to Solomon, he bows down before her and says he will give her anything she asks for (in the book of Daniel) Understanding this feature of the Jewish faith on which Christianity is based is fundamental to understanding how Christ the King views his Mother, and now our mother, who is even now gathering people together for her son.
As in he ikons of the Eastern Church, Mary, the Theotokos, always points to her Son and in her own words to the people at Cana 'Do whatever he tells you'. Doing the Will of God at all times is difficult, but Mary a constant figure of encouragment and intercession.
So we pray the 'Salve Regina'
Hail Holy Queen (Queen of Heaven crowned with 12 stars Rev 12)
Hail, our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope!
To thee do we cry , poor banished children of Eve (we were thrown out of the Garden of Eden because of wilfulness and disobedience)
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
We can tell you about our grief and sorrows at any time and you will listen.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after our exile show us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
(Look at us and point us to Jesus after our exile here on earth)
O clement (kind)
O sweet Virgin Mary
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer and tine by Herman Contractus 1013-1054
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve
Ad te clamamus, exules filiae Hevae
Ad te suspiramusgementes et flentes
in hav lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo Advocata nostra
Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende..
O dulcis Virgo Mariae. written by Hermann Contractus 1013-1054