Let us keep the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary always in our souls

MAY all of you imitate the Theotokos Mariam, the Virgin Mary.

She said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord!” and became the Mother of God and the Lady of the angels.

Her fruit, our sweet Jesus, through obedience ascended the Cross and descended into Hades to heal the great wound of disobedience.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959), “Monastic Wisdom”, Twenty-Ninth Letter.

**

WE are obliged, in order to acquire blessing, to be at pains to strive unceasingly for what we desire to possess endlessly, until we receive it.

So let us turn over the words of the Gospel in frequent meditation, let us keep the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary always in our souls, so that we too being found humble in the sight of God, and also subject to our neighbours with the honour they are due, we might be found worthy to be lifted up on high together with her.

The shrine of St Bede, Durham Cathedral

The shrine of St Bede, Durham Cathedral. On the tomb is inscribed, "Hâc sunt in fossâ Bedae venerabilis ossa" (In this grave are the bones of the Venerable Bede). At the other end of the Cathedral is the shrine of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, whose "Life" St Bede wrote in verse and prose.

Let us apply ourselves anxiously, lest a partiality for immoderate praises exalt us, when we see her, among words of true praise, keep hold upon an unshaken steadiness in humility.

If an immoderate taste for temporal things should entice us, let us remember that our Judge sends the rich away empty; if it should happen that temporal afflictions distress the mind, let us recall that he also exalts the humble.

Let us never despair of the failings for which we pray being forgiven, because his mercy is from generation to generation of those who fear him.

Let not the impenitent man’s heavier guilt hide away amidst the evils which he has done, because God has withstood the proud, and dividing theirs from the fate of the blessed, he has scattered them for their various sins through various places of punishment.

But by the generosity of God, if we always cultivate the deeds and words of Blessed Mary, then both attention to purity and works of virtue will always continue steadfastly in us.

St Bede, whose feast day is celebrated on May 27th. Sermon XL, for a Feast of the Blessed Virgin.

**

MY soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Greater in honour than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim:
without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word; truly the Mother of God, we magnify thee.

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Greater in honour &c..

Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me;
and holy is his name.

And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
to them that fear him.

He hath shewed might in his arm:
he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.

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 1:46-55, in the Douay-Rhiems translation of the Latin Vulgate which St Bede knew.

**

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