If the Hurricanes of Temptation Rise Against Thee

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The picture is a detail of Corrado Giaquinto's Nascita della Vergine (1732). His Maria Bambina is one of the loveliest I have ever seen. Saint Anne is shown as a healthy mamma, visibly pleased with her infant daughter. Saint Joachim looks on from the shadowy background.

On this feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, we do well to listen again to Saint Bernard, the Citharista Mariae (Mary's Harpist). Translation by the Marquess of Bute.

O thou whomsoever thou art,
that knowest thyself to be here
not so much walking upon firm ground,
as battered to and fro by the gales of this life's ocean,
if thou wouldest not be overwhelmed by the tempest,
keep thine eyes fixed upon this star's clear shining.

If the hurricanes of temptation rise against thee,
or thou art running upon the rocks of trouble,
look to the star, call on Mary.

If the waves of pride, or ambition, or slander, or envy toss thee,
look to the star, call on Mary.

If the billows of anger or avarice,
or the enticements of the flesh beat against thy soul's bark,
look to Mary.

If the enormity of thy sins trouble thee,
if the foulness of thy conscience confound thee,
if the dread of judgment appal thee,
if thou begin to slip into the deep of despondency,
into the pit of despair,
think of Mary.

In danger, in difficulty, or in doubt,
think on Mary, call on Mary.
Let her not be away from thy mouth or from thine heart,
and that thou mayest not lack the succour of her prayers,
turn not aside from the example of her conversation.

If thou follow her, thou wilt never go astray.
If thou pray to her thou wilt never have need to despair.
If thou keep her in mind, thou wilt never wander.
If she hold thee, thou wilt never fall.
If she lead thee, thou wilt never be weary.
If she help thee thou wilt reach home safe at the last,
and so thou wilt prove in thyself how meetly it is said:
"And the Virgin's name was Mary."


Ipsam sequens, non devias! This was the motto of Cardinal O'Hara. All I can add: Amen!

What a profoundly beautiful poem about Our Mother!

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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