Ave Maria Meditations
Our Lady is Queen of the Seraphic (Franciscan) Order: Feast Day is December 15th
Saint Francis’ Greetings to the Blessed Virgin:
Hail, Lady and Queen, holy Mary, Mother of God,
Virgin who became the Church,
chosen by the Father in heaven,
consecrated by His beloved Son
and His Spirit, the Comforter:
in you was and remains,
the whole fullness of grace
and everything that is good.
Hail, His palace,
Hail, His tabernacle,
Hail, His dwelling,
Hail, His robe,
Hail, His handmaid,
Hail, His mother!
O holy Mother,
sweet and fair to see,
for us beseech the King,
your dearest Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
to death for us delivered:
that in His pitying clemency,
and by virtue of His most holy incarnation
and bitter death,
He may pardon our sins.
Holy Virgin Mary,
among all the women of the world,
there is none like you.
You are the daughter and handmaid of the most high King,
Father of heaven.
You are the Mother of our most holy Lord Jesus Christ.
You are the bride of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for us, with St. Michael the archangel,
and all the powers of heaven
and all the saints,
to your most holy and beloved Son,
our Lord and Master. Amen.
Saint Anthony’s Prayer to Our Lady:
We ask you, Our Lady, you who are called the Morning Star,
dispel with your light the thick fog
of allurements to evil which fill our souls.
Like the light of the moon, replenish our emptiness,
and dissipate the darkness of our sins,
so that we may attain the fullness of eternal life
and the light of never diminishing glory.
With His help, who made you our light,
and although born from you, gave you life.
To Him be honor and glory from age to age.
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun. (Rev. 12:1)
Mary appearing with the lights of the universe is a great sign indeed. How noble did Mary appear in the heaven of the Divine Plan! No more brilliant or splendid figure can be created by the mind of mortal man. Mary was not merely predestined for grace and glory with the holy angels and the elect of God and chosen for the greatest measure of grace and glory after Christ. She was also selected to fill the role of Mother of God, for she indeed is the Godbearer, the truly natural Mother of the Only-Begotten Son of God. She was the predestined Mother of Christ, having been predestined before all creatures, together with Christ, the firstborn of every creature. For Christ had been predestined to be the Son of Mary, just as Mary had been predestined to be the Mother of Christ.
The light of the sun reflects the dignity of motherhood, which God had ordained for her. With a radiance surpassing that of the moon, her position above the moon signifies the excellence of her grace. The crown of stars bespeaks the dignity of her special glory. For to these three things had Mary been predestined: motherhood, grace, and glory. What a truly noble act of predestination, a selection so unique and ineffable that words cannot express it aptly!
Mary was seen clothed with the sun that we may know that she is like the sun which, although one, illumines and warms each man as if it had been created by God for him alone. So the Virgin Mother of God is both the mother of all men and the mother of each individual man. To all she is a common mother; to each his own personal mother. As the one sun can be seen in its entirety by each and every man (for every man at the same time sees a complete outline of the sun), so every one of the faithful, who from his heart devotes himself entirely to the Virgin, may enjoy her complete love as if he were her only son. For this reason Christ spoke to Mary in the singular when He said: Woman, behold thy son.
Mary as the Mother of Christ participates in His glory, hence she is clothed with the sun. Mary also possessed Christ most perfectly as her only and beloved Son. How was it possible for the Virgin not to shine with sunlike splendor when she carried Christ, the Sun of infinite light, in her virginal womb? If God enclosed the sun in an immense crystal vase, would not that vase seem to be clothed with the very sun? In this way the sun clothes and adorns with its brilliant rays the pure substance of heaven, which it surrounds and engulfs. Just as the sun, glowing within the crystal on every side with its light, so the heavenly Virgin is clothed with Christ, the Sun of justice and glory. This divine vision signifies that, as bride and mother, the most holy Virgin shares in the glory of Christ and God to a high degree, so that no greater sharing or participation can be thought of.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church