A most wonderful blog to follow. It has only just started and is already a treasure trove of traditional Catholic art and devotions.
These are the 20 most popular posts on All about Mary. Click on ‘x’ to view the original post:
1. Virgen de la Soledad (2,991 notes) (x)
2. Mater Dolorosa (2,051 notes) (x)
3. Our Lady of Fatima (1,966 notes) (x)
4. La Esperanza Macarena (1,448 notes) (x)
5. Ex votos (1,376 notes) (x)
6. N.S. de la Soledad (1,272 notes) (x)
7. Our Lady of Guadalupe (1,257 notes) (x)
8. Virgen de la Soledad (1,110 notes) (x)
9. Patrona Bavariae (1,100 notes) (x)
10. N.S. de los Dolores (1,018 notes) (x)
11. Gnadenbild Trier (1,008 notes) (x)
12. Virgen de los Dolores (950 notes) (x)
13. Gnadenbild Maria (927 notes) (x)
14. La Macarena (846 notes) (x)
15. N.S. de la Paloma (788 notes) (x)
16. Our Lady of Fatima (780 notes) (x)
17. Madonna Addolorata (777 notes) (x)
18. Our Lady of Guadalupe (747 notes) (x)
19. Neon lit street shrine (682 notes) (x)
20. La Esperanza de Triana (646 notes) (x)
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The interior of the Borghese chapel in the major basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.
Above the altar hangs the icon of the Salus Populi Romani, the Protectress of the Roman People. Pope Francis prayed before the icon on the second day of his pontificate.
Today the feast of Our Lady of Snows is celebrated, which is also known as the feast of the dedication of Saint Mary of Snows (Dedicatio Sanctæ Mariæ ad Nives) or Saint Mary Major.
The basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the most important church dedicated to Mary in Rome, and therefore arguably the world.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the origin of the feast goes back to an ancient legend:
During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to Our lady. They prayed to her that she might make known to them in what manner they were to dispose of their property in her honour. On 5 August, during the night, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill and, in obedience to a vision which they had the same night, they built a basilica, in honour of Our Lady, on the spot which was covered with snow.
I had this discussion with a Protestant friend just a few days ago, and I tried to explain to him there is a great difference between worship and veneration. When you are a Catholic you have a firm belief in the communion of saints, of which Mary is the greatest. In the Catholic mind this communion is not some distant theological concept, but a very real part of the faith. In as much so, that the saints become one’s examples in faith and one’s friends in time of joy and sorrow. When it comes to Catholics venerating or praying to Mary or another saint, these prayers are a request for intercession. It is like asking a friend to pray for you.
In the case of Mary, her ‘fiat’ at the Annunciation made her the first Christian. In a sense, this makes her the Mother of all Christians. This explains why Catholics honour her more than any other saint.
In Catholic theology there is a special word for the veneration of Mary, which highlights her unique status and asserts that only God is due worship: hyperdulia. It is defined by the Modern Catholic Dictionary as follows:
The special veneration due to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is substantially less than the cultus latria (adoration), which is due to God alone. But it is higher than the cultus dulia (veneration), due to angels and other saints.
From the moment when we were called to the See of Peter, we have constantly striven to enhance devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, not only with the intention of interpreting the sentiments of the Church and our own personal inclination but also because, as is well known, this devotion forms a very noble part of the whole sphere of that sacred worship in which there intermingle the highest expressions of wisdom and of religion and which is therefore the primary task of the People of God.
- Cultus Marialis (1974)
Strongest of armour,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press’d in the fight,
we call to thee.
- Flos Carmeli, Carmelite prayer
In giving life to Him, Mary was giving Him death. All other children born must inevitably die; death belongs to fallen nature; the mother’s gift to the child is life.
But Christ is Life; death did not belong to Him. In fact, unless Mary would give Him death, He could not die. Unless she would give Him the capacity for suffering, He could not suffer. He could only feel cold and hunger and thirst if she gave Him her vulnerability to cold and hunger and thirst. He could not know the indifference of friends or treachery or the bitterness of being betrayed unless she gave Him a human mind and a human heart. That is what it meant to Mary to give human nature to God.
He was invulnerable; He asked her for a body to be wounded.
He was joy itself; He asked her to give Him tears.
He was God; He asked for her to make Him man.
He asked for hands and feet to be nailed.
He asked for flesh to be scourged.
He asked for blood to be shed.
He asked for a heart to be broken.
The stable at Bethlehem was the first Calvary.
The wooden manger was the first cross.
The swaddling bands were the first burial bands.
The Passion had begun.
Christ was man.
The description of His birth in the Gospel does not say that she held Him in her arms but that she “wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger”. As if her first act was to lay Him on the Cross.
She knew that this little son of hers was God’s son and God had not given Him to her for herself alone, but for the whole world. This is one of the greatest of all things that we must learn from our contemplation of Our Lady.
Source: Laudamus Te
Inviolata is an 11th century hymn of praise for Mary. It is sung here by the Benedictine monks of the abbey of Saint Maurice and Saint Maur of Clervaux.
Inviolate, spotless and pure art thou,
O Mary, who wast made
the radiant gate of the King.
Holy mother of Christ most dear,
receive our devout hymn and praise.
Our hearts and tongues now ask of thee,
that our souls and bodies may be pure.
By thy sweet sounding prayers,
obtain for us forgiveness forever.
O gracious one, O queen, O Mary,
who alone among women art inviolate.
With concordant mirth inspired,
All our sadness now retired,
Mary let the Church recall,
Heralding her praise to all:
- Concordi Laetitia, 13th century hymn
the veneration offered by Roman Catholics to the Virgin Mary as the most exalted of human beings.
[from Latin hyper- + Medieval Latin dulia service]
L’Enfant de Marie
This French devotional image was printed for members of the sodality of the Children of Mary.
This Catholic Marian confraternity began following St Catherine Laboure’s vision of Mary in Paris in 1830: It is the Blessed Virgin’s wish that you should found a Confraternity of the Children of Mary. She will give them many graces. The month of May will be kept with great splendour and Mary will bestow abundant blessings upon them.