Pro peccatoribus iugiter exorans

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guercino_st_peter-_weeping_before_Virgin.jpg

This profoundly moving painting is by Guercino (1647). It depicts Saint Peter weeping before the Blessed Virgin on the first Holy Saturday. Look at it, and learn what compunction is.

Haec est Virgo supplex,
pro peccatoribus iugiter exorans,
ut ad Filium suum convertantur,
perennis gratiae fontem et veniae patens ostium.

She is the Virgin supplicant,
ceaselessly pleading for sinners,
that they might turn to her Son,
the ever-flowing wellspring of grace and the open gate of pardon.

(From the Preface of Mass 46, Beata Maria Virgo, Ianua Caeli)

Lent Approaching

There are always, I think, particular graces attached to the celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, on Saturday. As Lent fast approaches -- tomorrow is Quinquagesima Sunday -- I look more and more to Our Lady as Refuge of Sinners, Mother of Mercy, Advocate, Gate of Heaven, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Perpetual Help. To each of these titles of the Mother of God, an unique grace is attached; and those who invoke her under these titles experience the reality of each them amidst the struggles and obscurities of daily life.

Solitude and Compunction

Those who seek out the company of Mary, and enter into her solitude, experience holy compunction. The gift of tears is hers to give, and she bestows it upon those who would enter into the sorrows of her Heart and, through her, abandon themselves to the mercy of her Son.

Like a Flame

Since ancient times, the Roman tradition has dedicated Saturday to Our Lady. The Church remembers that first Holy Saturday, the Great and Silent Sabbath, when, with the Body of Jesus lying in the stillness of the sepulchre, all the faith and hope of the Church was contained in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, like a flame hidden in an earthenware vessel.

Through the Liturgy

By celebrating, either the Mass formulary assigned in the traditional Missal (today, for example, Salve, Sancta Parens) or one of the Mass formularies contained in the Collectio Missarum de Beata Maria Virgine (published in 1987), containing 46 Masses, one enters into the riches of the Church's ancient tradition, and avails oneself of the graces reserved by Our Lord for the present day, hour, and moment, and distributed to us by the hands of His Immaculate 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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