BEAUTY BEAMS IN EVERY TRACE OF THE THE VIRGIN MARY'S FACE
We have just celebrated the most glorious feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.
It would be a shame were we only to ponder the Assumption once a year. When we recite the Glorious Mysteries, we meditate on the Virgin Mary being taken up into Heaven and this allows for mini-celebrations of the grand occasion when Our Lady's body was transported from earth to Heaven. I've curated a selection of verse and lyrics that facilitate an ever more joyous meditation on the Virgin Mary's assumption, which you may read any time of year as a preparation for offering the Glorious Mysteries.
This poetry pays high homage to most lovely and most loving Mary. In the same way a lover pours their love for their beloved into a love letter and those who read the letter have more esteem for the person celebrated, so, too, do these lines of poetry raise us to new levels of awe for Our Queen. Oh, if we only loved Our Lady like the writers and saints who wrote the following:
St Francis de Sales: "It is impossible to imagine of her that she died any other sort of death than one of love - the noblest deaths for the noblest life that ever was among creatures."
Caryll Houselander: "When her time came to die, Our Lady was borne up to heaven in the hands of angels, borne through a blue sky that was warm with the noonday heat and yet was pale beside the blueness of her mantle. The legions of saints waited her coming, glorious in garments scarlet and white, with burning haloes; and before them came Gabriel, his mantle dazzling silver in the sunlight. Bowing low, he gave her a lily for a sceptre. She passed the multitude of the angels and saints and came at last to a place of solitude; and here her Son came to her; and He was a King in a robe of rose, and His wounds were jewels that shone; and He crowned her with a great crown set with seven brilliant stars for her life's seven sorrows."
"Virginal Lily, nod gently thy jeweled brow in the soft breath of God" (Peter Abelard)
St Bernard: "If eye hath not seen nor ear heard nor the heart of man understood the reward which God hath prepared for those who love Him, who can tell what He prepared for His Mother, for her who doubtless loved Him more than all others?"
Padre Pio on Our Lady's singularity which calls to mind why she was afforded the unique privilege of being assumed into Heaven: "She alone is capable of capturing the streams of love which pour from the Heart of God. She alone is worthy to discourse with Him."
Pius IX: "by nature fairer, more beautiful, and more holy than the Cherubim and Seraphim; she whom all the tongues of Heaven and earth do not suffice to extol."
The normally sour and scolding Savonarola penned this song of most tender love for his great Lady:
O Star of Galilee
Shining over earth's dark sea,
Shed Thy glorious light on me.
Queen of clemency and love,
Be my advocate above,
And through Christ all sin remove.
When the angel called thee blest,
And with transports filled thy breast,
Thy high Lord became thy guest.
Earth's purest creature thou.
In the heaven's exulting now,
With a halo round thy brow.
Beauty beams in every trace
Of the Virgin Mary's face,
Full of glory and of grace.
A beacon to the just,
To the sinner hope and trust,
Joy of the angel host.
Ever glorified, thy throne,
Is where thy blessed Son
Doth reign: Through Him alone,
All pestilence shall cease,
And sin and strife decrease,
And the Kingdom come of peace.
* * *
Caryll Houselander's portrait in words of the Assumption is found in The Reed of God.
Padre Pio's quote was recorded by author, Maria Winowska, during Pio's lifetime and published in her biography of the stigmatist, The True Face of Padre Pio.
Much of the rest of this post was supplied by Fairest Star of All, a carefully curated selection of poetry and praise to Our Lady compiled by Francis Edward Nugent.
The classic paintings were executed by Jean Francois de Troy and Titian.