Blessed Virgin Mary: November 2009 Archives

Tota pulchra es, Maria

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The Novena in Preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary begins today and continues through December 7th.

Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem,
tu laetitia Israel,
tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tu advocata peccatorum,
O Maria, Virgo prudentissima,
Mater clementissima,
ora pro nobis
ad Dominum Jesum Christum.

V. Sicut lilium inter spinas.
R. Sic Amica mea inter filias Adae.


Deus, qui per immaculatam Virginis Conceptionem
dignum Filio tuo habitaculum praeparasti:
quaesumus; ut qui ex morte ejusdem Filii tui praevisa,
eam ab omni labe praeservasti,
nos quoque mundos ejus intercessione
ad te pervenire concedas.
Per eundem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum,
Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat,
in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus:
per omnia saecula saeculorum.

Thou art all-lovely, O Mary,
and in thee there is no stain.
Thou art the glory of Jerusalem,
Thou art the joy of Israel,
Thou art the honour of our people.
Thou art the advocate of sinners,
O Mary,Virgin most prudent,
Mother most clement,
pray for us
to our Lord Jesus Christ.

V. Like a lily among thorns.
R. So is my Beloved among Adam's daughters.

Let us pray.

O God, who by means of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin
didst prepare a worthy dwelling for Thy Son,
and foreseeing His death,
didst thereby preserve her from all stain,
grant that we too by her intercession
may come to Thee unstained by sin.
Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord,
Who is God, living and reigning with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever.

Sin's Knotty Entanglements

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On the Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost and the ferial days following it, we pray:

Absolve, quaesumus Domine,
tuorum delicta populorum:
ut a peccatorum nexibus,
quae pro nostra fragilitate contraximus,
tua benignitate liberemur.

Absolve, Thy people from their transgressions,
we beseech Thee, O Lord,
so that through Thy goodness,
we may be set free from the entanglements of those sins
which in our weakness we have committed.

The verb, absolvo, can mean to loosen. The verb, contraho, can mean, among other things, to draw together tightly. Understood in this way, the Collect presents an astute psychology of sin. Sin is a knotty business, leading to hopelessly complex entanglements.

One better understands the old German devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Looser of Knots (Maria Knotenlöserin) in the light of the Church's prayer. There are, I think, in every life, sinful entanglements that only the patient and gentle hands of the Immaculate Virgin Mary can loosen.

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.

Donations for Silverstream Priory