Sunday, March 7, 2010

Salve Regina

"I went to see him (Chesterton) as he died. I asked to be alone with the dying man. There that great frame was in the heat of death, the great mind was getting ready, no doubt, in its own way, for the sight of God. It was Saturday, and I think that perhaps in another thousand years Gilbert Chesterton might be known as one of the sweetest singers to that ever-blessed daughter of Sion, Mary of Nazareth. I knew that the very finest qualities of The Crusaders was one of the endowments of his great heart, and then I remembered the song of the Crusaders, Salve Regina, which we Blackfriars sing every night to the Lady of our love. I said to Gilbert Chesterton: "You shall hear your mother's love song." And I sang to Gilbert Chesterton the Crusader's song: "Hail, Holy Queen!" - Fr. Vincent McNabb

I remember reading part of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan's autobiography where he taught his prison guards how do sing the Salve Regina and they would sing it together - even though they didn't know what it was. It's a beautiful prayer - I think.

I was thinking about St. Louis de Montfort and how he argued that the person most devoted to Mary is most devoted to Christ, and how he said that Mary is not great because of anything she is in and of herself. She is great because she was the home, mother, and earthly teacher of Christ. Everything she does points to him, and so the quickest way to understand true Christian devotion, true emptiness of self and love for Jesus, is to look to Mary (through Mary?).

Cardinal Newman has a great line where he says that for Catholics, our beliefs don't contradict our belief in scripture, etc because we see no contradiction, only harmony. He writes 'they say we ought to be disturbed, but we aren't'. That's what I try to tell people when they question Catholic Mariology: when they ask 'why?' answer 'why not?'. It's the 'default' Christian position from Patristic times to the Reformation, and they saw no problem with it. Mother Teresa once was asked why she was Catholic and she replied that it was because she hadn't found a better religion yet. That's my general standpoint.

I want to learn how to sing the Salve Regina in Latin. I love it when we occasionally get to sing it in English for a recessional hymn.

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