LOVE LETTERS TO MARY .pdf

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Title: LOVE LETTERS WRITTEN TO MARY THE VIRGIN
Author: Luky

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LOVE LETTERS TO MARY
THE VIRGIN
written by poets old and new

Compiled and presented by
Luky Whittle

1

Certes, if any comfort in us be
It comes of thee, thou Christ’s own mother dear
We have no other melody or glee
Us to rejoice in our adversity
Nor any advocate that will and dare so pray
For us and that for little hire as thee
That helpeth for an Ave Marie or tweye
Geoffrey Chaucer 1340-1400
Prière de Nostre Dame

I dedicate this work to my pastor, Mill Hill Father Stephen Giles,
who suggested that I turn a part of my collection of Marian
praise poetry into a classified resource suitable for use in Marian
studies.
Luky Whittle
2

FOREWORD
People throughout the centuries have expressed love and
honour for the Blessed Virgin Mary, God’s mother and ours.
However, some have experienced difficulty in giving Mary the
reverence that is due to her.
God the Father through the Holy Spirit allowed Mary to
become the mother of his only Son after she had agreed to his
invitation. From the Cross, Jesus bestowed his own mother
upon all humankind when telling the apostle John that Mary
would henceforth be his mother as he was now her son.
Since God graced Mary to become the bridge between his
divinity and Christ’s humanity, it is fitting that humankind
should reciprocate by turning to the mother of God in prayer
and by emulating her example of obedience to God. Doing so,
they will receive Mary’s protection on their own journey to
God.
Although a huge difference exists between fear and love, for
some people fear precedes the love of God. In the words of the
hymn “Amazing Grace”: “’tWas grace that taught (the) heart
to fear and grace (its) fears relieved”. For Mary there is no
fear in our hearts because she is one of us. Yet God honoured
Mary so greatly himself that it is unthinkable that he could be
offended by our reverence for Mary. Nevertheless, today, after
more than twenty centuries of Christianity, some still feel it is
correct to denounce Mary while others continue to ignore her
existence and disregard her mediatory skills with God.
When on the Last Day the scales fall from our eyes and we see
Mary in all her glory, those of us who have deliberately refused
to engage with her in our daily lives will weep from regret.
3

One of the founders of the Oxford Movement in England, John
Henry Newman, explained how he came to open his heart to
Mary in words that would be clear to any reader. In response
to a printed attack upon him by the Reverend E B Pusey,
another of the movement’s founder members, he wrote:
(Christ) alone has an entrance into our soul, reads our
secret thoughts, speaks to our heart, applies to us
spiritual pardon and strength … on him we solely
depend. He alone is our inward life … Mary is … our
mother by divine appointment, given us from the cross …
It is her prayers that avail, and her prayers are effectual
by the fiat of him who is our all in all … Our Lord cannot
pray for us, as a creature prays, as Mary prays … To her
belongs, as being a creature, a natural claim on our
sympathy and familiarity, in that she is nothing else than
our fellow … We look to her without any fear, any
remorse, any consciousness that she is able to read us,
judge us, punish us.”
Among those who pay homage to God while finding it difficult
to honour Mary, the reluctance to do so arguably may be based
on the fact of Mary’s humanity, which represents the litmus
test to our humility. Why, we argue interiorly, need we honour
Mary who is as human as we are ourselves? In his retort to
Pusey, however, Newman shows that it is this very humanity of
Mary which drew him to her in the end, regardless of the fact
that it may represent a stumbling block to some Christians.
The many graces and blessings we receive when turning to
Mary in prayer do not come to us at high cost. In the
fourteenth century Chaucer wrote that our paltry payment
(“hire”) for Mary’s help was to pray but an “Ave Marie or
tweye” (two).

4

These days we are encouraged to recite the rosary daily. This
prayer comprises 53 Hail Marys in addition to six Our Fathers,
six Glorias and the Creed. It takes less than twenty minutes to
recite five decades of the rosary, a paltry “hire” compared to
the time spent on phones, books, CDs, DVDs, films, magazines,
television, gym and the net.
The rosary is a mantra of devotion, providing comfort to those
who persevere in praying it, becoming a highlight in their day.
Those who reach out to Mary in prayer are drawn into her
motherly embrace as she passes our prayers on to God.
Purified by Mary’s lowliness, we are consumed in God’s love.
Intermittently throughout two millennia, English-medium
poets, great and small, have, like Chaucer, honoured Mary in
their poetry. The Marian lyric reached a peak during the
Middle Ages. The genre was all but destroyed during the
Reformation before being revived in the nineteenth century.
A new height of the Marian lyric in the medium of English was
reached between about 1930 and 1956 when the privations
imposed and carnage wreaked on human life and limb by two
world wars so schooled people’s minds that many young
people, including Americans, embraced the call for
consecrated virginity. The bulk of the poetry in this volume
was written by American women religious whose roots derived
from ancient Catholic European civilisations, such as those of
Ireland, England, Poland, Germany and Italy.
“All generations shall call me blessed,” Mary foretold. Her
words are corroborated in these love letters to Mary the
Virgin, our Queen and our Mother.
Luky Whittle
Christmas 2015
5

SOME FEASTS IN HONOUR OF
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Annunciation

– 25 March

Assumption

– 15 August

Birth of Mary

– 8 September

Candlemas – Purification of Mary

– 2 February

Dedication of Our Lady of the Snows – 5 August
Immaculate Conception

- 8 December

Christmas

- 25 December

Mother of God Solemnity

– 1 January

Our Lady of Guadalupe

– 12 December

Our Lady of Lourdes

– 12 February

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

– 16 July

Our Lady of the Rosary

– 7 October

Presentation of Mary

– 21 November

Presentation of the Lord

- 2 February

Queenship of Mary

– 22 August

Visitation of Mary

– 31 May

6

MARY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Lord himself shall give you this sign. Behold a virgin shall
conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called
Emmanuel
(Isaiah VII:14)
I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed
and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in
wait for her heel.
(Genesis III:15)
for she is a breath of the power of God
and a certain, pure release of the glory of the
Almighty God and therefore no defiled thing
comes into her
for she is the brightness of eternal light
and the unspotted mirror of God’s majesty
and the image of his goodness
(Book of Wisdom VII:25-26)
I am the mother of fair love
and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope.
In me is all grace of the way and of truth,
in me is all hope of life and of virtue.
Come over to me all ye that desire me
and be filled with my fruits.
For my spirit is sweet above honey,
and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb.
My memory is unto everlasting generations
(Ecclesiasticus XXIV:24-25)

7

MARY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Magnificat
spoken in Mary’s own words:
My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in
God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his
handmaid, for behold, from henceforth all generations shall
call me blessed. For the Almighty hath worked marvels for
me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation
unto generation unto those who fear him. He hath shown the
might of his arm, he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of
their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and
hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good
things and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received
Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy. As he spoke to
our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
(Luke I:46-50)
… a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of
twelve stars … and being with child, she cried, travailing in
birth: and she was in pain to be delivered … and she brought
forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod.
And her son was taken up to God and to his throne.
(Apocalypse XII:1;3;5)
And the dragon was angry against the woman and went to
make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the
commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
(Apocalyse XII:17)

8

FIRST MILLENNIUM
CHRIST 1 – THE ADVENT LYRICS
A ring-decorated Maiden
A virgin free from sin
it came to pass
so that for the sake of
the child’s birth
no woman’s reward
in the world occurred
it was kept a secret

The woman was young
whom he chose to be his mother
without man’s embrace
the bride became pregnant
before not since
in this way
a mystery of God

………………….
Hail, joy of women
among marvellous hosts
fairest woman
in all the world
of whom earth’s dwellers (ever) heard tell
teach us the secret
coming down from the skies
how that conception
was accomplished in thee
and that baby’s bearing
without knowledge of man
as is (not at all)
the custom of others
Never in truth
has such been heard of
in days of yore
to have occurred
that (which) by special
grace
thou didst receive
nor do we have reason
to expect it to recur
in days to come
truthfully Truth in thee
truly resided
inasmuch as the glorious Lord
thou didst bear in thy bosom while nothing corrupted
thy so glorious virginity
Cynewulf
Translation from Old English: Luky Whittle

9


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