Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

I am the mother of beautiful love, of fear, of knowledge and of holy hope.  
(Ecclus xxiv, 24.)

Terra has alerted me that to-day is the feast-day of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (or Help), pro aliquibus locis: in Australia, the Blessed Virgin under this title is the Patroness of three dioceses, and so two of them (poor bushwhacked Wilcannia-Forbes, and Maitland-Newcastle) keep her hallowed memory this day as a Solemnity - but Sale (newly supplied with a decent Catholic for bishop at last, so all power to His Lordship Christopher Prowse, and goodbye silly Jeremiah Coffey) wierdly keeps the feast instead on the 15th of November, who knows why (even more oddly, prior to the Council Sale kept the feast on the 3rd of July).

It astonishes me that the bishops of Australia didn't long ago, before the postconciliar decades of crisis, have Our Lady under this title given a feast throughout the land: basically, in having Our Lady Help of Christians as "Australia's Forgotten Patroness" - to quote the title of an ancient pamphlet I found - they missed the boat of popular devotion completely, since every single parish has a reproduction image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, usually with banks of lighted candles before it kept resupplied by eager votaries, but very few one of her as Help of Christians.  Typically, advised by undevout "liturgists", the bishops - even His Eminence - now push a new title, Our Lady of the Southern Cross, that again has no real popular support in the piety of the masses.  Now, don't get me wrong, de Maria numquam satis, but it really would make far more sense to have Our Lady of Perpetual Succour's feast day raised in importance.

I'm sure all Redemptorists would agree - and I must inquire of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer in Christchurch for a copy, if possible, of the Traditional Office of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.  The Proper Mass I have to hand:


27th June, pro aliquibus locis


Gaudeámus omnes in Dómino diem festum celebrántes, sub honóre beátæ Maríæ vírginis: de cujus solemnitáte gaudent ángeli, et colláudant Fílium Dei.  Ps. 44, 2.  Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea Regi.  V/.  Glória Patri


Dómine Jesu Christe, qui genitrícem tuam Maríam, cujus insígnem venerámur imáginem, matrem nobis dedísti perpétuo succúrrere parátam: concéde, quæsumus; ut nos, matérnam ejus opem assídue implorántes, redemptiónis tuæ fructum perpétuo experíri mereámur: Qui vivis…

EPISTLE (Ecclesiasticus xxiv, 23-31)

Ego quasi vitis fructificávi suavitátem odóris: et flores mei, fructus honóris et honestátis.  Ego mater pulchræ dilectiónis, et timóris, et agnitiónis, et sanctæ spei.  In me grátia omnis viæ et veritátis: in me omnis spes vitæ et virtútis.  Transíte ad me omnes qui concupíscitis me, et a generatiónibus meis implémini.  Spíritus enim meus super mel dulcis, et heréditas mea super mel et favum.  Memória mea in generatiónes sæculórum.  Qui edunt me, adhuc esúrient: et qui bibunt me, adhuc sítient.  Qui audit me, non confundétur: et qui operántur in me, non peccábunt.  Qui elúcidant me, vitam ætérnam habébunt.

GRADUAL & ALLELUIA (Canticle vi, 3 & 9; Judith xiii, 22; St Luke i, 28)

Tota formósa et suávis es, fília Sion, pulchra ut luna, elécta ut sol, terríbilis ut castrórum ácies ordináta.  V/.  Benedíxit te Dóminus in virtúte sua, quia per te ad níhilum redégit inimícos nostros.

Allelúja, allelúja.  V/.  Ave, María, grátia plena: Dóminus tecum: benedícta tu in muliéribus.  Allelúja.

GOSPEL (St John xix, 25-27)

In illo témpore: Stabant juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus, et soror matris ejus María Cléophæ, et María Magdaléne.  Cum vidísset ergo Jesus matrem, et discípulum stantem, quem diligébat, dicit matri suæ: Múlier, ecce fílius tuus.  Deínde dicit discípulo: Ecce mater tua.  Et ex illa hora accépit eam discípulis in sua.

OFFERTORY (cf. Jeremias xviii, 20b)

Recordáre, virgo Mater, in conspéctu Dei, ut loquáris pro nobis bona, et ut avértat indignatiónem suam a nobis.


Tua, Dómine, propitiatióne, et beátæ virginis et matris Maríæ intercessióne, ad perpétuam atque præséntem hæc oblátio nobis profíciat prosperitátem et pacem. Per…

PREFACE of Our Lady (…Et te in festivitáte…)


Regína mundi digníssima, María virgo perpétua, intercéde pro nostra pace et salúte, quæ genuísti Christum Dóminum Salvatórem ómnium.


Adjuvet nos, quæsumus, Dómine, immaculátæ genitrícis tuæ sempérque vírginis Maríæ intercéssio veneránda: ut, quos perpétuis cumulávit benefíciis, a cunctis perículis absolútos, sua fáciat pietáte concórdes: Qui vivis…

The Collect, the solemn asseveration of Holy Church, teaches us by its confident plea that it is Our Lord Himself Who deigned to give us His Mother to be our mother of perpetual help, whose singular image we revere, that we may assiduously implore her maternal aid, and thereby ever deserve to receive the fruit of the redemption He wrought for us on Calvary.  (Of course, all this is but a consequence of Our Crucified Lord's donation to us of His Mother to be ours, as St John's Gospel reveals; and of the truth that we may rightly view with loving regard such a beautiful portrait of she who is our mother.)  

Note how the Secret and Postcommunion, originally from the common fund of Marian orations, have been slightly reworded - clearly they were selected because both contain the word "perpetual"; in the Secret, the words "and mother" have been inserted, albeit with "ever" removed, while in the Postcommunion, the original word "glorious" has been replaced with "immaculate": these minor adjustments emphasise in both cases that the Virgin Mary is also Mother, Mother of God and, by her maternal intercession, the Mother of Perpetual Succour for all her faithful children, vouchsafed to her by her dying Son in the person of the Beloved Disciple (as the Gospel of the Mass portrays).  The Offertory and Communion chants also focus on her endless prayers to God on our behalf, the Offertory being a daring rewording of the words the prophet Jeremias prayed to God: "Remember that I have stood in thy sight, to speak good for them, and turn away thy indignation from them".  As for the Epistle... "I am the mother of beautiful love, of fear, of knowledge and of holy hope."  (Ecclus xxiv, 24.)  It says it all really.

All this reminds me: I really have yet another shrine to visit in Rome: the church of St Alphonsus, where reposes the hallowed icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour - the church and icon being in care of the Redemptorists, who as indefatigable missioners sedulously promoted this devotion worldwide, as in their famous Perpetual Novena to her (familiar to me from the Redemptorist's great church in Perth, W.A., which is absolutely packed for the Novena every Saturday afternoon; the same devotion is so popular at their church in Singapore that the nearest railway station is actually called Novena Station!) with what fruits are obvious in the ubiquitous nature of this sacred image of the Blessed Virgin. 

Don't forget to look to Redemptorist Father Scott Bailey's blog for the traditional three Novena prayers...

1 comment:

Terra said...

I agree its a shame this isn't celebrated more widely, you make a compelling case Joshua!