25 October 2011

To emulate Gabriel

Currently I am in Indianapolis visiting our seminarians at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary. While they are away at classes I have answered a good bit of e-mail and am working my way through the current issue of Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies.

In it, Susanna Fein has an interesting article titled, "Mary to Veronica: John Audelay's Sequence of Salutations to God-Bearing Women.". She says,
In late-medieval Christianity, Christ's human nature and the saints' proximity were beliefs deeply ingrained in the conceptual world of the faithful."

In our own day, we would do well to recover this conceptual world; it is, after all, reality.

In speaking to the saints, she says,
Such a poem is more than a prayer, however: because utterance of the first Ave allowed Jesus to be made flesh, salutation commemorates a core doctrine of medieval piety. When Gabriel enunciated, "Ave Maria gratis plena" (Hail Mary full of grace), God's Word entered Mary and grew in her womb. The form ( of addressing saints) is therefore modeled on hallowed utterance. Ave. A momentous word, marks the moment of Christ's incarnation and carries salvific import. In an exemplum preached by John Mirk, Mary is said to feel the thrill of her Son playing in her body whenever one utters the Ave phrase, "God is with thee.". Second only to the Paternoster ( Our Father) among all prayers, the Ave Maria is the premiere way to address Mary. To say "Ave" is to emulate Gabriel. Take up your rosary, then, in this month of October and emulate the Archangel.

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