Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ave Regina Cælorum - II

I have previously posted on the Marian anthem Ave Regina cælorum, which is the Church's song after Compline each day from yesterday, Candlemas, until Wednesday in Holy Week inclusive - that is, from the 2nd of February until the 8th of April, or for 66 days this year.  To-day I was again thinking on it, and on the meaning of its words.  

At first glance, the anthem itself  - originally sung on the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven, body and soul, hence its penultimate line Vale, O valde decora (Goodbye, O Thou so beautiful) - is not so obviously connected to its versicle and collect: but this is not so.  In the collect, we refer to ourselves, we who keep the memory of the Holy Mother of God (qui sanctæ Dei Genetricis memoriam agimus), which we have just done if we have sung the versicle Dignare me laudare te Virgo sacrata (Vouchsafe me to praise thee, sacred Virgin), and before it have praised her as the Mother of God, the gate whence dawned the true Light, as the Virgin all glorious and above all others beautiful, because Immaculate and never stained with sin, as the assumpted Queen and Lady of heaven and of the angels.  

And after thus saluting her, hailing her, congratulating her on her joy, we beg that she pray Christ her Son for us; in the response to the versicle, we one and ask that she give us strength against her foes (Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos); most of all, in the Collect we ask that by the help of her intercession (intercessionis ejus auxilio) we may rise again from our iniquities (a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus)  - and this we ask of our merciful God (misericors Deus), Who predestinated the Blessed Virgin from all eternity to be the Mother of His Son, with all that entails for our happy estate, and all this we ask through that same Christ our Lord, Who is our Mediator with the Father.


I have decided to pray the Angelus with a special added intention - that of corporate reunion of the Traditional Anglican Communion with the Holy See, that is, with Christ's Vicar and all Catholic Christendom.  To this end, at its end I add, "Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us, ut unum sint."

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