Daily Archives: June 10, 2010
“Memorare, o piissima Virgo Maria….”
It is sad to think that these words, once devotedly pronounced by countless faithful every day, nowadays rarely adorn Catholic lips. One cannot avoid noticing that when prayers where recited in the allegedly so tough Latin the faithful actually prayed a lot more than today that everything has been made easy for them. There is a lesson to be learned here, I think: you don’t do any favour to the faithful by making things shallow; you merely encourage them to become shallow themselves.
The neglect of the Memorare is particularly unfortunate, because this is a powerful prayer. I see in it the fundamental optimism and the simple but solid faith of the Catholic knowing that the Blessed Virgin will intercede for him without fail and just for the asking. This is not the prayer of one who hopes, but of one who knows that his prayer will go straight to the Queen of Heaven. The key words of the prayer are “non esse auditum a saeculo” (“that never was it known”) and “esse derelictum” (“was left unaided”). If you hear this prayer once or twice you will probably instantly remember this powerful statement and its far reaching promise: that given the proper attitude, the Blessed Virgin intercedes without fail for anyone who addresses her.
This is powerful stuff. This is the Catholicism of our forefathers, who were less used than us to rely on secular institutions to sort out their problems and rather accustomed to look heavenward in their troubles. The Memorare forces us to face the fact that Mary’s intercession is not something existing in an undetermined dimension somewhere between a child’s tale and a vague hope, but a very concrete reality in which we can take refuge every day.
Our ancestors – solidly rooted in Catholicism irrespective of their education level – were naturally familiar with such a concept, but the present generation vastly ignores the very notion of the Communion of Saints, nor will you find many priests willing to take care that such basics elements of Catholicism are universally and thoroughly understood. This ruthless massacre of everything specifically Catholic – and his substitution with a protestantised, simplified and banalised undersatanding of Catholic prayer and devotion – was perhaps not positively encouraged, but certainly made possible by the “aggiornamento”. Some fifty years later, Catholic desolation is what this passion for “change” has engendered: once commonly used devotions have disappeared, once beloved prayers are almost forgotten and mainstays of Catholic thinking, powerful tools in a world of insecurity and trouble, have been utterly and wilfully neglected.
I may be wrong, but my impression is that the rediscovery of this and other beautiful ancient prayers is the result of the rediscovery of Latin and of the growing awareness that together with Latin a rich patrimony of Catholic traditions and devotions has been thrown into the dust bin. I wonder how one can rediscover traditional Catholicism without recovering Latin, and vice versa.
The Enchiridion of Indulgences states that a partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite the Memorare.
You can find here both the Latin and English version, together with the most succinct and easy to understand historical information I could find.
As the Daily Mail reports, Prince Charles yesterday informed us that Islam is, as far as its “spiritual principles” are concerned, more environmentally friendly than Christianity. That is to say that Christians are supposed not to kill the planet but they do not take this reaaally seriously after all, while Muslims are at the forefront of environmental awareness….
In Islam there is “no separation between man and nature”, he goes on saying. I assume that this means that when a Muslim beheads a Christian it is as if he were beheading, say, a goat or a duck or cutting the top of a tree. This does sound rather new age-ish and very environmentally friendly and whilst it might not lead to a decreasing in the number of beheadings of Christians, it might prove useful to make Prince Charles feel smug and oh so attentive to the sensitivities of his Muslim subjects.
The Prince went so far as to appear the only human being (Christian, Muslim or Environmentalist) still insisting in using the expression “an inconvenient truth” without understanding the laughter and ridicule it causes everywhere.
This is the “Defender of…” what!?
I wish Queen Elisabeth a long and happy life.
This saturday, June 12, Manuel Lozano Garrido – Spanish journalist and writer also known as “Lolo” – will be beatified. His life was extraordinary in many ways. Paralysed and forced on a wheelchair at 22, he relentlessly devoted his life to transmit to others that joy and devotion he himself was feeling. The growing intensity of his physical pain did nothing to weaken his faith. In time, he lost the use of the right hand and learnt to write with the left one; received a typewriter and chose “My Lord” as the first words written with it; became blind and never lost his joy or interrupted his professional activity, starting to dictate his articles instead; could not easily move and wrote inspiring articles about the processions and religious ceremonies he saw from his balcony; could not enjoy health and worried about how people affected by illness could improve their spiritual lives.
His support for “Acción Católica” and his desire to help those who, like him, were gravely hindered by their illness led to the creation of “Sinai”, a prayer community whereby groups of 12 gravely ill people prayed each for a particular media. This group grew up to 300 incurably ill people and “Sinai” also became a magazine.
A remarkable trait of this very remarkable person is that in the midst of all his trials he was, well, pretty much of a happy man. Therein lies in my opinion the lesson he still teaches us. We make tragedies of our minor problems and at times lose our serenity because of them. We give our health for granted and spend our time worrying over comparatively trivial troubles instead. We cannot even imagine how a life of growing pain and progressive physical decay can transform itself into a life of prayer, sincere joy and spiritual help to countless people. Lolo could do it. What a wonderful person and what a wonderful example.
You can find here a link with extensive biographical details about this truly remarkable man. While you do, I will think of how much a simple headache troubles me and hang my head in shame.