Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Prayer to the Mother of God in a Time of Distress

THIS ICON OF THE MOTHER OF GOD is found painted on a cement wall of separation at Bethlehem. It's symbolic of the profound struggle Christians and other minorities are suffering in the Middle East these days (and in parts of Africa and Asia).

Below is a prayer written by Father Arseny, an Orthodox priest who was held prisoner in a Soviet Gulag. Someone wrote suggesting the readers of this blog might enter into a nine day disciple of prayer (a novena) holding this Christian crisis before heaven. I have adapted Father Arseny's prayer slightly (he'd approve) to reflect the communal dimension ~ the solidarity we feel with Christians whose suffering is indescribable. 

O our beloved Queen, our hope, O Mother of God, protector of orphans and of those who are hurt, helper of those who perish and consolation of all who are in distress ~ you see our misery, our sorrow and loneliness. Help us who are powerless, give us strength. You know what we suffer, you know our grief. Lend us your hand, for who else can be our hope but you, protector and intercessor before God? The world has sinned before your Son, and before all people. Be our Mother, our consoler, our aid. Soften hearts that are hardened in deadly hatred. Protect and save us, chase away grief and despondency. Help us, O Mother of God.

CNEWA is the papal humanitarian assistance agency to Christians in the Middle East. It does important work.


  1. The human spirit is such that where ever there is ugliness we try to create beauty. I wonder if this is a reflection of the fact we are created in God’s image? Is this what God does in this world? Try to create beauty where there is ugliness? This is true of the separation wall where we find art depicted that has a wide range of messages. Injustice. Separation. Re-union. Reconciliation. God is with us. Soften the hearts that are hard against us.

    1. Beauty here on earth is partial and fleeting. Is there a beauty that is total and eternal? And might that be God.?

  2. Thank you for this prayer and for reminding us of the plight of others felt globally. We forget that people suffer for their religious beliefs as we many times take our freedoms for granted. Let us not forget that we are all people, bonded in humanity.

  3. I like this Novena. It has everything in it I would need to pray for in these very hard times. There doesn't seem to be much we can do but summon God to our aid. Ask and you shall receive, pray and it will be given to you.