After the invocation: “Virgin Most Venerable,” comes another interesting title: “Virgin Most Renowned.” To understand its original meaning and usage, we turn to the Latin root: “Virgo Praedicanda,” which translates it more accurately as “Virgin Worthy of Praise” (praiseworthy), just as it is expressed it in the Portuguese language: “Virgem Louvável” Thus, “Virgin Worthy of Praise” (the original meaning in Latin) would be the hallmark of our reflection, today being the seventeenth day of our devotion to Mary.
It is not very difficult to understand the list of Marian praises that we find in the Bible, in the liturgy, in ancient Church literature, poems, songs, etc. Theologians and artists do not skimp on praise when it comes to the Virgin, Mother of God; this is because it all began in Scripture. The Angel Gabriel did not skimp either. He praised her, saying: “Hail, full of grace.” (Lk 1: 28). Elizabeth praised her as well: “Blessed art thou amongst women…” (Lk 1:43). When Jesus was preaching the Good News, a woman from the crowd interrupted him saying: “Happy is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you suckled” (Lk. 11:27). Mary herself prophetically acknowledges in her Magnificat: “From now on, all generations will call me blessed, because the Almighty has done great things for me” (Lk 1:48). The Second Vatican Council cites this text as justifying the Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church:
“Placed by the grace of God, as God’s Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ and is justly honoured by a special cult in the Church. Clearly, from earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honoured under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful took refuge in all their dangers and necessities. Hence, after the Synod of Ephesus, the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: “All generations shall call me blessed because He that is mighty hath done great things to me.” This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well as to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favourable to it.” (L.G #66)
Following the Scriptural imperative to call her blessed, The Church Fathers, writers of Christian antiquity, spared no praise for Mary: a face that exudes divine goodness, a place of holiness, a Mother clothed in light, a Mother pure in holiness, a creature that leads to the Creator, Ark of the Covenant, Crown of chastity, Temple of the Holy Spirit, etc.
Therefore, we should not be shy or economical in praising the great Mother of God. Praising her is a way of recognizing God’s goodness n her. There are people who never praise the glorious heroes of the faith nor anyone. They prefer to always observe life through its gloom. Thus, addicted to empty criticism, they hardly even praise God. Happy people have the facility and ability to praise. Praising the Mother of God, therefore, is an exercise in happiness. If it is nice to have a biological mother and much respect and praise are accorded to her, why can’t the Mother of our Saviour be respected, honoured and praise? Even Martin Luther, the initiator of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, did not save his praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is quoted as saying: “I accept that she is the Mother of God”. In 1523, he even proposed liturgical festivities linked to Mary, such as the feast of the Annunciation, wrote a comment to her Magnificat, and even wrote songs in praise of Mary (as I stated in my previous article). Unfortunately, the later Protestant traditions prefer to “forget” these pearls of its own tradition; as such, they and the present-day “Pentecostals” have come to see the act of praising the Blessed Virgin Mary as a sin, something which started in biblical times.
In the conclusion of his Apostolic Exhortation: “MARIALIS CULTUS”, Pope Paul VI emphasizes:
“The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is an intrinsic element of Christian worship. The honour which the Church has always and everywhere shown to the Mother of the Lord, from the blessing with which Elizabeth greeted Mary (cf. Lk. 1:42-45) right up to the expressions of praise and petition used today, is a very strong witness to the Church’s norm of prayer and an invitation to become more deeply conscious of her norm of faith. And the converse is likewise true. The Church’s norm of faith requires that her norm of prayer should everywhere blossom forth with regard to the Mother of Christ. Such devotion to the Blessed Virgin is firmly rooted in the revealed word and has solid dogmatic foundations. It is based on the singular dignity of Mary, ‘Mother of the Son of God, and therefore, beloved daughter of the Father and Temple of the Holy Spirit – Mary, who, because of this extraordinary grace, is far greater than any other creature on earth or in heaven.'”
Dear friends in Christ, it is praising the great Mother of God that she becomes “RENOWNED,” that is, rendering her great fame. When last did you make the Blessed Virgin Mary renowned through a devotion of praise to her? When last did you praise her by praying her full rosary (20 decades)? Today, I place before you, a decision to make. To be part of the generation that praises and calls her blessed or not. The choice is yours! As for me, I will always praise and call her blessed for the rest of my life; thus, making her renowned, even when “wicked men “ blaspheme her.
I’ll sing a hymn to Mary,
The Mother of my God,
The Virgin of all virgins,
Of David’s royal blood.
O teach me, holy Mary,
A loving song to frame,
When wicked men blaspheme thee,
I’ll love and bless thy name.
Oh Virgin Most Renowned (Virgo Praedicanda), pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?