Saturday, January 10, 2009

Prayer of Saint Bernard to the Virgin Mary

Franz Anton Maulbertsch, Visitation

Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son
Humble and high beyond all other creatures.
The limit fixed of the eternal counsel,
Thou art the one who such nobility
To human nature gave, that its Creator
Did not disdain to make himself its creature,
Within thy womb rekindled was the love,
By heat of which in the eternal peace
After suchwise this flower has germinated.
Here unto us thou art a noonday torch
Of charity, and below there among mortals
Thou art the living fountain-head of hope.
Lady thou art so great, and so prevailing,
That he who wishes grace, nor runs to thee
His aspirations without wings would fly.
Not only thy benignity gives succor
To him who asketh it, but oftentimes
Forerunneth of its own accord the asking.
In thee compassion is, in thee is pity,
In thee magnificence, in thee unites
Whate'er of goodness is in any creature.

(Dante, Paradiso, canto XXXIII, verses 1-21)

Roberto Benigni recites it in the Italian:


Fred said...

ah yes. I didn't realize that Dante put this prayer into St. Bernard's mouth: very interesting to me because I've been praying to St. Bernard for a special intention...

Suzanne said...

I'll pray for your intention, too, Fred. Did you watch/listen to Benigni? It's beautiful even if you don't know Italian (like I don't!). I read in Traces that Riro's fraternity group chose this prayer as their rule of prayer -- they all pray it at noon each day.

Fred said...

I listened to Benigni, thanks! Slowly I'm beginning to learn Italian. And thank you for praying for the intention. Your mom, Judy, is in our prayers also by the way.

Suzanne said...

thanks so much, Fred.

Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."