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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mary in Norwich

The Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery is a bit out of the way for visitors to London. It contains a number of works dedicated to the Virgin Mary


Master of the Magdalen Legend (ca.1483-ca.1530)
The Seven Sorrows of Mary (The Ashwellthorpe Triptych)
c.1519
Oil on panel
83.8 x 26.7 cm
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, England

The Seven Sorrows of Mary  are the Presentation in the Temple, the Flight into Egypt, Christ and the Elders, the Carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Lamentation and the Entombment

The kneeling donor figures represented in the wings are  Christopher Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe in Norfolk and his wife Catherine van Assche.

The saints beside each donor are St Christopher and St Catherine, the name saints of the donors

On 15th September 1988 Blessed Pope John Paul II preached on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows:
"At the foot of the Cross Mary never ceased to praise the wondrous mercy of God, the mercy which endures “from generation to generation”. And she did not cease to proclaim the saving “power of his arm”, which puts down the proud and raises the lowly. Like no other person on earth, Mary was able to penetrate the Paschal Mystery of Christ; she understood it with her heart. 
...[T]he  Church sees the Mother of God as the one who “preceded in the pilgrimage of faith” all the People of God on earth. In this faith she became a true daughter of Abraham; indeed she even surpassed him whom Saint Paul calls “the Father of all believers” (Rom. 4, 11). Her pilgrimage of faith has done something even greater: it has enabled us to enter ever more profoundly into the inscrutable mysteries of God. 
The Church in your country, in Lesotho, here in Maseru, as does the Church throughout the earth, goes forward on this same pilgrimage of faith, the pilgrimage on which the Mother of God has gone before us. Today the Bishop of Rome meets you on this pilgrimage. 
He stands in your midst and celebrates with you the Eucharistic Sacrifice on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows."

Alice Havers 1850–1890
'But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart'
1888
Oil on canvas
122.2 x 91.9 cm
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, England

The title is from Luke 2:19

When the shepherds  visited the infant Jesus in the manger, the shepherds tell Mary and Joseph what they had been told by the angels. 

Then the Evangelist St Luke makes the remark which is the title of the work.

Blessed Pope John Paul II often meditated on these words

He said in a homily on 1st January 2000 The Solemnity of Mary when he opened the Holy Door of St Mary Major in Rome:
"How can we marvel that the Mother of God should remember all this in a special and indeed unique way? Every mother has a similar knowledge of the beginning of a new life within her. Every person's history is written first of all in his own mother's heart. It is no wonder that the same was true for the earthly life of the Son of God"

Recently on 7th September 2013 Pope Francis held a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria. The booklet for the four hour long liturgy is here

One of the central prayers was the The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary also called the Litany of Loreto approved of by Pope Sixtus V in 1587

Many of the praises in the litany came from prayers of the Greek Church, in particular the Akathist Hymn  possibly composed by Saint Romanos the Melodist or the Hymnographer who was born either in Homs or Damscus in Syria
"Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy.  
Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.  
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us. 
Holy Mary, pray for us. 
Holy Mother of God, pray for us. 
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us. 
Mother of Christ, pray for us. 
Mother of divine grace, pray for us. 
Mother most pure, pray for us. 
Mother most chaste, pray for us. 
Mother inviolate, pray for us. 
Mother undefiled, pray for us. 
Mother most amiable, pray for us. 
Mother most admirable, pray for us. 
Mother of good counsel, pray for us. 
Mother of our Creator, pray for us. 
Mother of our Savior, pray for us. 
Virgin most prudent, pray for us. 
Virgin most venerable, pray for us. 
Virgin most renowned, pray for us. 
Virgin most powerful, pray for us. 
Virgin most merciful, pray for us. 
Virgin most faithful, pray for us. 
Mirror of justice, pray for us. 
Seat of wisdom, pray for us. 
Cause of our joy, pray for us. 
Spiritual vessel, pray for us. 
Vessel of honor, pray for us. 
Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us. 
Mystical rose, pray for us. 
Tower of David, pray for us. 
Tower of ivory, pray for us. 
House of gold, pray for us. 
Ark of the covenant, pray for us. 
Gate of heaven, pray for us. 
Morning star, pray for us. 
Health of the sick, pray for us. 
Refuge of sinners, pray for us. 
Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, pray for us. 
Queen of Angels, pray for us. 
Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us. 
Queen of Prophets, pray for us. 
Queen of Apostles, pray for us. 
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us. 
Queen of Confessors, pray for us. 
Queen of Virgins, pray for us. 
Queen of all Saints, pray for us. 
Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us. 
Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us. 
Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us. 
Queen of Peace, pray for us. 
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!. 
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord! 
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. . 
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.  
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 
Let us pray. Grant, we beg you, O Lord God, that we your servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord.  
R. Amen."