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From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Let us contemplate the sentiments of profound respect and maternal tenderness, which fill the soul of our blessed Lady, now that she has conceived Jesus in her chaste womb: He is her God, and yet He is her Son. Let us think upon this wonderful dignity bestowed upon a creature; and let us honour the Mother of our God. It is by this mystery that the prophecy of Isaias was fulfilled: ‘Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son;’[1] and that of Jeremias: ‘The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth; a woman shall compass a Man.’[2] The Gentiles themselves had received the tradition of these prophecies. Thus in the old pagan Carnutum (Chartres), there was an altar dedicated ‘To the Virgin that was to bring forth a Son and that of Jeremias: 'The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth; a woman shall compass a Man.' 11 The Gentiles them- selves had received the tradition of these prophecies. Thus in the old pagan Oarnutum (Chartres), there was an altar dedicated ' To the Virgin that was to bring forth a Son and that of Jeremias: 'The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth; a woman shall compass a Man.' 11 The Gentiles them- selves had received the tradition of these prophecies. Thus in the old pagan Oarnutum (Chartres), there was an altar dedicated ' To the Virgin that was to bring forth a Son (Virgini Parituræ)’; and whilst modern rationalism, with its ignorant scepticism, was affecting to throw a doubt on this fact of history, the researches of science were discovering that Carnutum was far from being the only city of the west which had such an altar.

But what human language could express the dignity of our Lady, who carries within her chaste womb Him that is the world’s salvation! If Moses, after a mere colloquy with God, returned to the Israelites with the rays of the majesty of Jehovah encircling his head, what an aureola of glory is due to Mary, who has within her, as in a living heaven, that very God Himself! The divine Wisdom tempers the effulgence of her glory that it be not visible to men; and this in order that the state of humility, which the Son of God has chosen as the one in which He would manifest Himself to the world, should not be removed at the very outset by the dazzling glory which would, otherwise, have been seen gleaming from His Mother.

The sentiments which filled the heart of Mary during these months of her ineffable union with the divine Word, may be thus expressed in the words of the bride in the sacred Canticle: ‘I sat under the shadow of Him whom I desired; and His fruit was sweet to my palate. I sleep, but my heart watches. My soul melted when He spoke. I to my Beloved and my Beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies, till the day break, and the shadows retire.’[3] And if there ever were a human heart, that was forced, by the overpowering vehemence of its love of God, to use these other words of the same Canticle, it was Mary’s: ‘O daughters of Jerusalem! stay me up with flowers, compass me about with fragrant fruits; for I languish with love.’[4] ‘These sweet words,’ says the venerable Peter of Celles, ‘are those of the bride that dwelleth in the gardens, and is now near the time of her delivery. What so lovely in creation as this Virgin, who loves the Lord with such matchless love and is so exceedingly loved by this her Lord? It is she of whom the Scripture speaks, when it calls the bride the dearest hind. What, too, so lovely as that well-beloved Son of God, born of His beloved Father from all eternity, and now, at the end of time, as the apostle speaks, formed in the womb of His dearest Mother, and become to her, in the words of the same divine proverb, the sweetest fawn? Let us, therefore, cull our flowers, and offer them to both Child and Mother. But let me briefly tell you what are the flowers you must offer to our Lady. Christ says, speaking of His Humanity, “I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys.” By Him, therefore, let us purify our souls and bodies, and so be able to approach our God in chastity. Next, preserve this flower of purity from all that would injure it; for flowers are tender things, and soon droop and fade. Let us wash our hands among the innocent, and, with a pure heart, and pure body, and cleansed lips, and chaste soul, let us gather in the paradise of our heavenly Father our fresh flowers for the new Nativity of our new King. With these flowers let us stay up this most saintly Mother, this Virgin of virgins, this Queen of queens, this Lady of ladies; that so we may deserve to receive the blessing of the Mother and of the divine Babe.’[5]

Ave, Virgo gratiosa,
Virgo Mater gloriosa,
Mater Regis gloriæ.

Ave, fulgens margarita
Per quam venit mundi vita,
Christus sol justitiæ.

O oliva fructifera,
Tu pietatis viscera
Nulli claudis hominum.

Nos exsules laetificas,
Ut vitis, dum fructificas
Salvatorem Dominum.

Ave, Virgo Mater Dei,
Tu superni sol diei,
Et mundi noctis luna.

Clementior præ caeleris,
Succurre nobis miseris,
Mortalium spes unica.

Ave, decus virginale,
Templum Dei speciale! Per te fiat veniale
Omne quod committimus.

Tu nobis es singularis;
Tu nos ducas, stella maris;
Tu nos semper tuearis:
En ad te confugimus.

Ad te, pia, suspiramus,
Si non ducis, deviamus;
Ergo doce quid agamus;
Post hunc finem ut vivamus
Cum sanctis perenniter.

Jesu Christe, Fili Dei,
Tota salus nostræ spei;
Tuæ matris interventu,
Angelorum nos conventu
Fac gaudere jugiter.

Hail, Virgin full of grace!
glorious Virgin-Mother
of the King of glory!

Hail, fair pearl!
by whom came the life of the world,
Christ the Sun of justice.

O fruitful olive!
thou excludest no mortal
from thy tender compassion.

Thou givest gladness to us exiles,
for, like a fruitful vine,
thou yieldest thy fruit, Jesus our Lord.

Hail, Virgin Mother of God!
thou art the sun of the heavenly day!
thou art the moon of the world’s night!

Tenderest of Mothers!
help us poor mortals,
for God wills us to hope in thee above all creatures.

Hail, O purest Virgin!
God’s special temple! pray for us to him,
that he would forgive us all our sins.

Thou art unto us what no other creature is.
Guide us, O star of the sea!
Defend us always and in all places.
We fly to thee in our necessities.

Tender Mother! we pray thee guide us,
or we go astray.
Tell us what would thy Jesus have us do?
that so, after this life is ended,
we may live for ever with the saints.

O Jesus! Son of God,
our only Saviour, in whom rests all our hope!
grant by the intercession of thy Mother,
that we may be united
to the angels in eternal joy.


A Prayer for the Time of Advent
(The Mozarabic breviary, first Sunday of Advent)

Audivimus, Christe; confitemur, et credimus, quod de sinu Patris egrediens veneris, ut camis nostræ vestibulo cingereris, liberaturus, scilicet susceptæ Incarnationis mysterio, quod perierat naturæ vitiatæ contagio. Fac nos, praenuntiata adventus tui gaudia, promptissima surrectionis devotione excipere: ut quia tu e loco patrio, secretoque progrediens, salvaturus homines, humanitus properasti ad publicum; nos e loco criminis exeuntes, munditiores concitum Divinitatis tuæ prospectemus excursum: ut extrema vitæ nostræ, nullius discriminis conculcatione involvens: sic provoces terrore justitiæ, ut solita justifices pietate. Amen.
We have heard, O Christ, we confess, and believe, that thou art come from the bosom of thy Father, to clothe thyself in the cover of our flesh by the mystery of the Incarnation, that thou mayst thus deliver mankind, that had been lost by the corruption of sinful nature. Grant us so devoutly to welcome the joyful tidings of thy coming, that as thou, issuing from the divine sanctuary of thy Father’s bosom, didst, for man’s salvation, come into the world, in the form of man; we may abandon the sins in which we have been living, and hasten, thus purified, to meet thy divine majesty; that at the close of our lives, the fear of thy threats may not crush us by despair; but make us now so tremble at the dread of thy justice, that thy wonted mercy may then justify us. Amen.

[1] Isa. vii. 14.
[2] Jer. xxxi. 22.
[3] Cant. ii. 3, 16, 17; v. 2, 6.
[4] Ibid. ii. 5.
[5] Sermon for Christmas Eve.