Memorial of the Queenship of Mary

Queenship of Mary

Sing, Sing, Ye Angel Bands

Sing, sing, ye Angel Bands,
All beautiful and bright;
For higher still and higher,
Thru fields of starry light,
Mary, your Queen, Ascends, Ascends,
Like the sweet moon at night.

Oh happy angels! look,
How beautiful she is!
See! Jesus bears her up,
Her hand is locked in His;
Oh, who can tell the height, the height,
Of that fair Mother’s bliss?

And shall I lose thee then,
Lose my sweet right to thee,
Ah no – the angels’ Queen
Man’s Mother still will be,
And thou upon thy throne
Wilt keep thy love for me.

On – through the countless stars
Proceeds the bright array,
And Love Divine comes forth
To light her on her way
Through the short gloom of night
Into celestial day.

Hark! hark! through highest heaven
What sounds of mystic mirth,
Mary by God proclaimed
Queen of Immaculate Birth,
And diademed with stars
The lowliest of the earth.

See, see, the Eternal Hands
Put on her radiant crown,
And the sweet Majesty
Of Mercy sitteth down
For ever and for ever
On her predestined throne.

[Rev. F.W. Faber] Traditional
Taken from the St. Basil’s Hymnal, 1953

Filling the Protestant Void (Part 1): Mary

Neil Babcox, before his conversion to the Catholic Church, had been a member of the Protestant clergy.  After reading Sam’s comment on my previous post (i.e., Sam of Contemplative Christian), I remembered hearing Neil’s testimony and wanted to share it here, not with conversion uppermost in my mind – but not without that possibility hovering around either 🙂 – but with the knowledge of Mary’s love for all of her children, be they Catholic, Protestant or non-Christian.

In terms of conversion to the Catholic Church, Neil tells us that for many Protestants (he speaks of clergy, but I think it can be as readily said of most Protestants), “…the greatest stumbling block and the last obstacle to overcome is Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”  His own experience, however, was the exact opposite.  For Neil, Mary was one of the “greatest draws and guides” into the Catholic Church. 

He speaks of two experiences which brought him closer to Mary:  one, a week-long retreat at a Trappist monastery and the other, one of his meditations while doing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.

Neil recounts his developing understanding of the “Hail Mary”, as well as a transformation in his reading of the Scriptures in light of Mary.  He speaks of a “lifting of the veil” (as I too did in my previous post); Neil’s was in reference to the intercession of Mary and the saints and how this had been lost to Protestant understanding since the Reformation.

Listen as Neil tells us of his discoveries through his reading of Marian theology, and of his love for the Rosary.

Neil, “wasn’t looking for Mary, and yet she came over the hills of my heart into my life.”   He says to his Protestant brothers and sisters:  “…love for Mary didn’t take me away from Jesus a single bit.  Love for Mary brought me closer to Jesus than I ever had been before.”  Amen, Neil.  To Jesus through Mary.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today was easily one of the best days of my life.  Yesterday I finished my 33-day preparation for my second annual renewal of my consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I also took some time to myself to pray the 33 meditations (short prayers to the Immaculate Heart of Mary) all over again, though I had prayed them one at a time for the 33-day period.

Today I attended the five-o’clock Mass at our parish.  I arrived well in advance, and renewed my consecration in the small chapel (which I have mentioned in a few posts over at Contemplative Haven), in front of the Blessed Sacrament and the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and beside the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Then this evening, for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we attended the eight-o’clock Mass and candlelight procession at the Notre Dame de Lourdes Grotto in Vanier (Ottawa).  I have been going to pray at this Grotto since I was a little girl, and the evening celebrations on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are very beautiful.

The Grotto was filled to overflowing, and my heart was so full of gratitude that so many people had come to celebrate the Assumption and to give honour to Mary.  It is not a day of obligation in Canada.  Everyone was there out of love for Mary, pure and simple.  Pure.  And simple.  After Mass, we lit our candles and processed from our seats up the hill to the Cross, with quiet song interspersed with decades of the Rosary.  (all in French, by the way.)  At the end we sang the Magnificat, and were asked to wave our candles high in the air at each verse.  I held back from going up the hill this year, so I could try to get you some photos.  I’m not very good at night photography (at least, I haven’t figured it out yet…) but there were hundreds of people holding candles, singing and praying.

My heart had been full during the whole Mass and procession, but at the end, as I stood before the statue of Our Lady, my tears really came pouring out.  It was like the veil was lifted for a few moments, out of Mary’s graciousness to me.  I felt her telling me that I was only in one little corner of one little part of the world, and that this had been going on in pockets all over the world today, and that this is what had been taking place all day today in heaven.  As some of us stood in front of Mary, still singing alleluias, holding our candles, gazing up at her with love (some with outstretched arms), I could imagine the love that will be poured out to her when she comes in the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, to bring in the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I could imagine all of us all over the world with outstretched arms and faces raised to the heavens.  Yes.  I believe today was really one of the best days of my life.

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 1

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 2

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 3

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 11

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 13

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 16

Consecration Renewal

I am approaching the second anniversary of my consecration to Mary on the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th.  I have been doing my original 33-day consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in preparation [please see the links in the sidebar re the day-to-day consecration posts if you are interested in taking this beautiful journey yourself], as I did last year for the first anniversary as well.

Although the daily prayers are a part of my regular prayer time (daily consecration to Mary), the rest of the guidance and meditations I only read sporadically throughout the year.  So, as I have been doing my 33-day annual renewal over the past few weeks, I am finding many things that resonate with me more deeply than they did the first time, based on the experiences I have had over the last two years, upon the growing intimacy of my relationship with Mother Mary, my now almost constant recourse to her, and how she has been guiding and teaching me.

I am so looking forward to the Feast of the Assumption and my consecration renewal.  Mother Mary, please continue to “guard me as your property and possession”.