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Salve Regina

Something for the weekend.  Salve Regina.  A hymn to Mary whose origins are lost in the historical mists of the Middle Ages in the Eleventh Century.  Catholics regard May as the month of Mary and thus this song is appropriate.  I have always loved it.   Martin Luther hated it, another reason for me to love it!

 

Here I must say a few words about the song which is called Salve Regina. It is a great blaspheme of God. For it says, “Hail you queen of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.” Is that not too much? Who could justify calling her our life, sweetness and mercy when she is satisfied to call herself, a “handmaiden of the LORD?” Now people sing that prayer in every corner of the world and also the bells ring out, and still today in nearly every church the Salve Regina is, unfortunately, retained and sung.
It is the same with the Regina Coeli, which is not much better, in which she is called the queen of heaven. Is that not doing Christ a disservice when you account to a creature what only belongs to and is proper to God? So forget these ungodly and unchristian words. I will gladly concede that Mary prays for me, but I deny that she must be my comfort and my life. Your prayer on my behalf is also just as precious to me and hers. Why? If you believe that Christ dwells just as much in you as He does her, your prayer can help me just as well as hers.

 

This all calls to mind GK Chesterton’s “And Christian hateth Mary, whom God kissed in Galilee”.  I doubt if God will ever have a problem with Christians who love the mother He loved.

 

 

 

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Salve Regina, Hermann the Cripple and Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was nearing the end of his voyage across the Atlantic 525 years ago.  He had a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Each night he would assemble the crew on his ship to sing the Salve Regina.  The hymn was written in the eleventh century by Blessed Hermann the Cripple, a truly fascinating figure.

 

 

Born on July 18, 1013, he was a son of Wolverad II, Earl of Altshausen.  He entered this world with maladies that would be considered overwhelming in our time and in the eleventh century entirely beyond hope: a cleft palate and cerebral palsy and spina bifida, or perhaps  Lou Gehrig’s disease or spinal muscular atrophy.  In any event he could barely move, and could hardly speak.  He was placed in a monastery at age 7, no doubt his parents fearing that all that would occur for their son for the remainder of his time in this vale of tears was that he would be made as comfortable as possible until his afflicted life came to an end.

Among the monks he flourished.   At twenty he took his vows as a Benedictine monk. He spent most of his life at the Abbey of Reichenau.  He quickly demonstrated that a keen mind, as well as a beautiful soul, inhabited his wreck of a body. He mastered several languages including Latin, Arabic and Greek.  His genius was catholic in its scope:  he wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry, mathematics and astronomy, a chronicle of events from the Crucifixion to his time and composed religious poetry.  He built musical instruments and astronomical devices.  Students flocked to him throughout Europe, drawn not only by his learning but also by his sweet demeanor.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of his role in the scientific renaissance sweeping through Europe in the eleventh century.

Going blind in his later years, he became a noted composer of hymns, including the Salve Regina.  Dying in 1054 at age 40, he was beatified by Pio Nono in 1863. Continue Reading

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Salve Regina and Hermann the Cripple

Something for the weekend.  Salve Regina.  Christopher Columbus was nearing the end of his voyage across the Atlantic 523 years ago.  He had a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Each night he would assemble the crew on his ship to sing the Salve Regina.  The hymn was written in the eleventh century by Blessed Hermann the Cripple, a truly fascinating figure.

Born on July 18, 1013, he was a son of Wolverad II, Earl of Altshausen.  He entered this world with maladies that would be considered overwhelming in our time and in the eleventh century entirely beyond hope: a cleft palate and cerebral palsy and spina bifida, or perhaps  Lou Gehrig’s disease or spinal muscular atrophy.  In any event he could barely move, and could hardly speak.  He was placed in a monastery at age 7, no doubt his parents fearing that all that would occur for their son for the remainder of his time in this vale of tears was that he would be made as comfortable as possible until his afflicted life came to an end.

Among the monks he flourished.   At twenty he took his vows as a Benedictine monk. He spent most of his life at the Abbey of Reichenau.  He quickly demonstrated that a keen mind, as well as a beautiful soul, inhabited his wreck of a body. He mastered several languages including Latin, Arabic and Greek.  His genius was catholic in its scope:  he wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry, mathematics and astronomy, a chronicle of events from the Crucifixion to his time and composed religious poetry.  He built musical instruments and astronomical devices.  Students flocked to him throughout Europe, drawn not only by his learning but also by his sweet demeanor.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of his role in the scientific renaissance sweeping through Europe in the eleventh century.

Going blind in his later years, he became a noted composer of hymns, including the Salve Regina.  Dying in 1054 at age 40, he was beatified by Pio Nono in 1863. Continue Reading