Knights of the Patronage

All right, so I will now get back to more edifying business. I have given everyone more than a piece of my mind on the question of the election, as have also some of you who have commented here.

I apologize for my snarkiness. My desire was to defend a pro-life woman who was being trashed all over the place. I got carried away and I am duly rebuked by the lady, though I really don’t know what her point is about Ben Stein’s movie.

Templar Prayer

I still can’t find a translation of the Templars’ prayer to Our Lady, which is unfortunate. The best I can come up with this description provided by the scholar who found the Chinon Parchment:

It was “beautiful and moving” and “full of poetry”, Dr Frale said, but “incredibly has never been studied”. The prayer is addressed to “Holy Mary, mother of God”, the “consolation of those who hope”, and “humbly implores” her to obtain freedom for the order “through the intercession of the angels, archangels, prophets, evangelists, apostles, martyrs, confessors and virgins”. It adds that the Virgin Mary knows that “our enemies” have spread “calumnies and lies” about the order, and pleads with her to make them “return to truth and charity”.

In their rite of profession, the Knights Templar formulated their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in terms of solemn promises made to “God and St. Mary,” so it is no wonder that the they would have turned to Mary in their dire circumstances, invoking Her as the “consolation of those who hope,” and having confident recourse to Her for deliverance.

In fact this spontaneous confidence in the power of Mary to overcome evil has always been the intuition of Christians. I would like to share a little reflection on the ancient devotion to Mary and the development of chivalry in the context of another prayer found on a manuscript that had been hidden in obscurity for many years. Continue reading

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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: Continue reading