Allow Me to Praise Thee, O Holy Virgin

This is the title of the reatreat I am giving our sisters here in Bloomington, Indiana who are preparing to renew their vows on the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel. The line comes from a prayer composed spontaneously be Blessed John Duns Scotus, and which has entered into the language of the liturgy as an antiphon from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The full text is Allow me to praise Thee O Holy Virgin, give me strength against Thine enemies.

The story goes that Scotus was on his way by foot to Paris where he was to defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception during a disputation conducted at the great University of Paris. Along the way he passed by a wayside shrine of Our Blessed Lady, and was inspired to kneel down and say this prayer. Our Blessed Lady was pleased to acknowledge the humility and devotion of her servant by miraculously manifesting that the prayer had been heard and answered.

The statue animated and bowed to the Blessed John, and he went on to Paris to brilliantly defend Our Lady’s prerogative of Her Immaculate Conception. The Franciscan Order has generally been recognized as one of the principle instruments for the defense and articulation of the dogma. Blessed Pope Pius IX, in fact, used the argumentation of Blessed John Duns Scotus as the basis for the papal bull defining the dogma in 1854. That defining moment is know affectionately within the Order as the Franciscan Triumph.

St. Maximilian Kolbe believed that the dogma was a blueprint for Catholic life, a battle plan for the crushing of the serpent’s head in our godless age. His act of consecration is a chivalric commitment, in our order a vow of blood to fight under Our Lady’s banner for the extension of the kingdom of Christ. Allow me to praise Thee O Holy Virgin, give me strength against Thine enemies.

St Maximilian attached this antiphon to end of his solemn act of consecration and also composed a longer prayer inspired by it:

Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin, with my personal commitment and sacrifice.

Allow me to live, work, suffer, be consumed and die for You, just for You.

Allow me to bring the whole world to you.

Allow me to contribute to Your ever greater exaltation, to Your greatest possible exaltation.

Allow me to give You such glory that no one else has ever given You up to now.

Allow others to surpass me in zeal for Your exaltation, and me to surpass them, so that by means of such noble rivalry Your glory may increase ever more profoundly, ever more rapidly, ever more intensely as He Who has exalted You so indescribably above all other beings Himself desires.

In You alone has God been adored beyond compare, more than in all His saints.

For You God has created the world. For You God has also called me to existence. For what reason have I merited this fortune?

Oh, allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin!

That second to the last line might raise some eyebrows. I am prepared to defend it, if anyone is interested.

In any case, Our Lady is the “way of beauty” to use the words of Paul VI. It should be our honor to praise her. The chivalric ideal of honor is realized in service to the Queen. To “live” for Our Lady is to realize that Jesus lived in Her and through Her. By his own choice is self-emptying included his dependence on Her and his willingness to observe the fourth commandment, and He is the epitome of manliness and militancy.

Allow me to praise Thee O Holy Virgin . . . Faith and Prayer.

give me strength against Thine enemies. . . Charitable and Courageous Action.

12 thoughts on “Allow Me to Praise Thee, O Holy Virgin

  1. What happens after death? “The cup is filled to the brim”

    I am thinking of St. Teresa of Liseux and her sister’s (as I recall) story of the souls and cups. God knows the place of every soul. Some cups are larger than others, but in heaven all cups are filled to the brim, that is, everyone experiences the fullness of happiness as fully as they are capable.

    Our Lady being, the largest “cup” (for a human being) then because of her merits in cooperating in the salvation of the world has this honor in order to assist all these souls. Something like that anyway.

    The point is that there is no need for jealousy in heaven as all souls are “filled” with happiness to their fullest. And Our Lady coninues to occupy an important agent of grace in that fulfillment.

    Sorry if I mangled all that, words are not my strong suit.

  2. FrAngelo,
    I love this prayer. When I am in a bad situation I pray this prayer. I had learned it as
    “Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against your enemies.”
    I love St. Maximilian!

    God bless you!

  3. I have a chaplet called The Chaplet of the Seven Joys.

    It has the format: “I praise thee O dearest Mother Mary …” to begin each of her seven joys.

    It was offered by a former military man (flying man – Korea and Vietnam tours).

    Unfortunately it has not received an imprimatur.

    Meantime there’s always St. Louis de Montford:

    I unite with all the saints in heaven, with all the just on earth, and with all the faithful here present. I unite with you, my Jesus, in order to praise your holy Mother worthily and to praise you in her and through her… (Rosary Method III) Liz

  4. And this one for times of temptation (From a book Devotion to the Holy Angels):

    O divine Mother! send your angel to defend me and drive the cruel enemy far from me.”

  5. Coletta,

    I learned the prayer the same way. I actually prefer it your way.

    Liz,

    The Chaplet of the Seven Joys is actually the Franciscan Crown, and it is a long approved sacramental. The traditional Franciscan Crown, consists is seven decades of the following mysteries: the annunciation, the visitation, the nativity, the adoration of the magi, the finding in the temple, the apparition of Our Lord to Our Lady on the Morning of the Resurrection, the assumption and coronation. Unfortunately, the old indulgence attached to its recitation is no longer in force.

    Recently our founder, Father Stefano Maria Manelli applied to the Holy See and recieved an indulgence for the recitation of our own version of the Seven Joys. Our version has seven Hail Marys for each mystery, which are the same as the Franciscan Crown with the exception of the seventh mystery which is the decent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

  6. Coletta,

    I learned the prayer the same way. I actually prefer it your way.

    Liz,

    The Chaplet of the Seven Joys is actually the Franciscan Crown, and it is a long approved sacramental. The traditional Franciscan Crown, consists is seven decades of the following mysteries: the annunciation, the visitation, the nativity, the adoration of the magi, the finding in the temple, the apparition of Our Lord to Our Lady on the Morning of the Resurrection, the assumption and coronation. Unfortunately, the old indulgence attached to its recitation is no longer in force.

    Recently our founder, Father Stefano Maria Manelli applied to the Holy See and recieved an indulgence for the recitation of our own version of the Seven Joys. Our version has seven Hail Marys for each mystery, which are the same as the Franciscan Crown with the exception of the seventh mystery which is the decent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

  7. Fr. Angelo,

    Yes, I know the Franciscan Crown (Well not well, but I have it). This is something new and Our Lady asked for it to be approved (but it isn’t yet) the author has always had a strong devotion to Our Lady.

    When you get yours approved I’d love to see it – All these different prayers are for different purposes. The one I have has the Annunciation, the Nativity, The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, The Resurrection, the Ascension, the Assumption, and the Coronation – each with a Hail Mary and a Glory be. It ends with a the Psalm 150.

    And there were reasons Our Lady picked those, but not because one is right and one is “wrong”. That’s how I understand it.

  8. P.S. My favorite prayer of St. Francis (I don’t know where its from, but I’ve read he kept a copy of it):

    I believe that you, O Jesus, are in the Most Blessed Sacrament! I love you and desire you! Come into my heart. I embrace you. O never leave me! May the burning and most sweet power of your love, O Lord Jesus Christ, absorb my mind, that I may die through love of your love, who was pleased to die through love of my love. Amen

  9. Fr. Angelo, I should have said that my first post is in answer to your “eyebrow” challenge – sorry. I think I must have got it wrong, but our salvation is “in and through” Our Lady. She is the gate, the mercy seat, Queen Mother, many other titles.

    I lack words, I would love to hear yours on this subject – you see I am always borrowing other’s words to complete my thoughts.

    I’ll shut up now.

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