Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Portmanteau Post: St. Robert Bellarmine and the Blessed Virgin Mary

Nearly every Saturday on the Roman Calendar of the Catholic Church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as an optional memorial and today is also the optional memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine, whose connection to the English Reformation I have highlighted before. We can observe both by exploring St. Robert's devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Servant of God Father John Hardon, SJ describes St. Robert Bellarmine's devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, including this poem:

Among St. Robert’s extant writing there is a short poem of twenty stanzas which he composed in the nature of a Litany to the Blessed Virgin. The text was first published in Italian some fifty years ago, and to the best of the writer’s knowledge, has never been translated into English. Each verse-line begins with the name “Virgin,” joined to a title and petition to Our Lady, starting with the letter “A” and going down the Italian alphabet to “V.” Thus the first seven verses begin with the invocation: “Vergine adorna … Vergine Bella …Vergine casta … Vergine degna … Vergine eletta … Vergine felice … Vergine gradita …”

A free translation to this tribute to the Virgin Mother reads as follows:
“Virgin adored and clothed with the sun, grant me thine aid.
Virgin most beautiful, mystical rose, take abode in my heart.
Virgin most chaste, all undefiled, grant me true peace.
Virgin deserving of all honor and praise, give me thy love.
Virgin elect and full of all grace, lead me to God.
Virgin most blessed, star of the sea, dispel the storms besetting me.
Virgin most virtuous, holy and sweet, show me the way.
Virgin illustrious, with thy burning light, enlighten thou my mind.
Virgin more precious than jewels or gold, make reparation for me.
Virgin most worthy of all praise, mother, daughter, and immaculate spouse.
Virgin and Mother, make me more pleasing to Jesus thy Son.
Virgin most innocent of any stain or fault, make me more worthy of God.
Virgin enriched with every gift and grace, obtain the remission of my sins.
Virgin most pure, grant me to enjoy the bliss of heavenly love.
Virgin, thou lily among thorns, I pray thee for the grace of a happy death.
Virgin more rare than the rarest dream, bring joy to my heart.
Virgin so great there is none like thee on earth, bring peace to my soul.
Virgin most true, loving Mother too, Virgin Mary.”
Holy Mother of God, pray for us!

St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for us!

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