Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Memorare Prayer

As part of their coverage of the feast of the Immaculate Conception this week the Zenit newsagency had a post about the Memorare prayer. This widely used prayer is often attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). However the online article at Memorare argues that in fact it originates as part of a longer fifteenth century prayer, and that the attribution to St Bernard comes from confusion with its seventeenth century populariser Fr Claude Bernard. Nonetheless the article contains stories suggesting the efficacy of the prayer.

The Catholic Church grants a partial indulgence, initiated by Pope Pius IX in 1846, for those who devoutly recite the emorare. It is said that in order to receive a grace, the prayer should be recited at least nine times consecutively.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was particularly devoted to the recitation of this prayer. It has been said that along with her fellow sisters, this prayer was recited almost 25,000 times to obtain the healing of a nun who was gravely ill.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

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