25 May 2007

Flores de Mayo

Flores de Mayo ("Flowers of May") is a month-long celebration that Filipinos observe in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Parades and beauty pageants are held, may crownings occur, Marian shrines are visited, barren women dance to get pregnant (several links to the fertility rites on that page, visit it), and what have you. For my family however, it's the only time of the year we can treat the statue of the Blessed Virgin like a barbie doll and dress her all up. We tried to dress her up as a warrior woman of the the T'boli tribe of the Southern Philippines, but Holy Mary ended up looking like something else.

Did we go too far this year?

22 May 2007

Te matrem dei laudamus

The Te matrem dei laudamus, by Saint Bonaventure, is a Marian paraphrase of the Te Deum laudamus that was popular during the Renaissance.
You are our Mother: we praise you;
You are our Blessed Lady: we acclaim you:
All creation reveres you,
the daughter of the Eternal Father.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy is the great Mother of God,
Mary most holy;
the blessed Fruit of your womb
fills heaven and earth with his glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Daughter, of majesty unbounded,
the Mother of the true and only Son of God,
the bride of the Spirit our advocate and guide.

You bore Christ, the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When he became man to set us free
he did not shun your virgin womb.
He overcame the sting of death
and assumed you into the kingdom of heaven.
With your Son you are seated at
God's right hand in glory.
Intercede for us, O Virgin Mary
when he will come and be our judge.
Come then, and help your people,
bought with the price of your Son’s precious blood,
and bring us with you and all the saints
to glory everlasting.

I am grateful to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Orthodox Christian Fellowship for graciously permitting others to use the free icon clip art at their iconography archive. Thank you very much indeed for allowing me to use your icon of the Theotokos.

18 May 2007

Happy Feast of the Ascension!

From a Syraic manuscript depicting the Ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven.*

Psalm 24 Domini est terra

1 The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, *
the world and all who dwell therein.
2 For it is he who founded it upon the seas *
and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
3 “Who can ascend the hill of the LORD? *
and who can stand in his holy place?”
4 “Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, *
who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
nor sworn by what is a fraud.
5 They shall receive a blessing from the Lord *
and a just reward from the God of their salvation.”
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, *
of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
7 Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
and the King of glory shall come in.
8 “Who is this King of glory?” *
“The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.”
9 Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
and the King of glory shall come in.
10 “Who is he, this King of glory?” *
“The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory.”


*I had a HARD time searching for an icon image that wasn't under strict copyright. I know it's not the best one, but I couldn't find anything that would not entail legal issues.

17 May 2007

Quam bonus Israel!

Psalm 73

1 Truly, God is good to Israel, *
to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped; *
I had almost tripped and fallen;

3 Because I envied the proud *
and saw the prosperity of the wicked:

4 For they suffer no pain, *
and their bodies are sleek and sound;

5 In the misfortunes of others they have no share; *
they are not afflicted as others are;

6 Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace *
and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.

7 Their iniquity comes from gross minds, *
and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts.

8 They scoff and speak maliciously; *
out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens, *
and their evil speech runs through the world.

10 And so the people turn to them *
and find in them no fault.

11 They say, "How should God know? *
is there knowledge in the Most High?"

12 So then, these are the wicked; *
always at ease, they increase their wealth.

13 In vain have I kept my heart clean, *
and washed my hands in innocence.

14 I have been afflicted all day long, *
and punished every morning.

15 Had I gone on speaking this way, *
I should have betrayed the generation of your children.

16 When I tried to understand these things, *
it was too hard for me;

17 Until I entered the sanctuary of God *
and discerned the end of the wicked.

18 Surely, you set them in slippery places; *
you cast them down in ruin.

19 Oh, how suddenly do they come to destruction, *
come to an end, and perish from terror!

20 Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord, *
when you arise you will make their image vanish.

21 When my mind became embittered, *
I was sorely wounded in my heart.

22 I was stupid and had no understanding; *
I was like a brute beast in your presence.

23 Yet I am always with you; *
you hold me by my right hand.

24 You will guide me by your counsel, *
and afterwards receive me with glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? *
and having you I desire nothing upon earth.
26 Though my flesh and my heart should waste away, *
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

27 Truly, those who forsake you will perish; *
you destroy all who are unfaithful.

28 But it is good for me to be near God; *
I have made the Lord God my refuge.

29 I will speak of all your works * in the gates of the city of Zion.

16 May 2007

La Rose Complète

I couldn't help myself. The tears just gushed out. Seriously.

J'ai une telle conscience de ton être, rose complète,
que mon consentement te confond avec mon coeur en fête.
Je te respire comme si tu étais, rose, toute la vie,
et je me sens l'ami parfait d'une telle amie.


I have such awareness of your being, perfect rose,
that my will unites you with my heart in celebration.
I breathe you in, rose, as if you were all of life,
and I feel the perfect friend of a perfect friend.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

3 May 2007

To my Holy Mother

Our Lady of China with the Child Jesus
Gary Chu, Hong Kong

O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, let me dwell with you, cling to you and love you with ever-increasing love. I promise the honour, love and trust of a child. Give me a mother's protection, for I need your watchful care. You know better than any other the thoughts and desires of the Sacred Heart. Keep constantly before my mind the same thoughts, the same desires, that my heart may be filled with zeal for the interests of the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son. Instill in me a love of all that is noble, that I may no longer be easily turned to selfishness.

Help me, dearest Mother, to acquire the virtues that God wants of me: to forget myself always, to work solely for him, without fear of sacrifice. I shall always rely on your help to be what Jesus wants me to be. I am his; I am yours, my good Mother! Give me each day your holy and maternal blessing until my last evening on earth, when your Immaculate Heart will present me to the heart of Jesus in heaven, there to love and bless you and your divine Son for all eternity.

-adapted from a prayer by John Henry Cardinal Newman