Sunday, 9 May 2010

I come, O Mother, to gaze on you

The "Meditation of the Day" in Magnificat for yesterday was from the writings of Paul Claudel. The copyright note at the back of the booklet indicates that it has been taken from a collection of prayers to the Virgin Mary, edited by Mgr Virgilio Noe. This means that I have no idea where this comes from in Paul Claudel's work.

A thought provoking aspect of this prayer is that it speaks of visiting a Church to meet the Virgin Mary in much the way that we might normally speak about visiting a Church to meet Jesus, particularly Jesus present as the Eucharist in the tabernacle. There are two parts, I think, to trying to understand this. The first is to see in the figure of Mary a representative figure of the whole Church, the mystical Body that is physically represented in the building of a church. The second is to place it in the context of Marian consecration, seen as a living out of baptismal consecration and so fullness of dedication to the Father through Jesus Christ (cf third and final stanzas); the meeting with Mary is at once a meeting with Jesus Christ. Noon is the time of the Angelus prayer as well as being the time of a lunch time break from daily labour.
It is noon.
I see the church open,
and I must enter.

Mother of Jesus Christ,
I do not come to pray.
I have nothing to offer
and nothing to request.

I come solely to gaze on you,
O Mother.
To gaze on you,
weep for joy,
and know this:
that I am your child and you are there.

I come only for a moment
while everything is at a standstill,
at noon!

Just to be with you,
O Mary,
in this place where you are.
Not to say anything
but to gaze at your countenance,
and let the heart sing
in its own language;
not to say anything
but solely to sing
because my heart is overflowing.

For you are beautiful,
because you are Immaculate,
the woman fully restored in Grace,
the creature in its first honor
and its final bloom,
as it issued from God
on the morn of its orginal splendor.

You are ineffably intact,
because you are the Mother of Jesus Christ,
Who is the Truth in your arms,
and the only hope and the sole fruit.

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