Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Prayer Before Zurbaran's Childhood of Mary

Francisco de Zurbaran painted this picture titled: The Childhood of the Virgin Mary somewhere between 1658 and 1660. Zurbaran completed images of the young Jesus and Mary many times, each a great gift to us, as they depict the sensitivity and beauty of children known well to the painter who was a father and grandfather. 

My own meditation follows. You understand that no one needs a degree in theology to compose a prayer but only some time given to deep-looking in silence. The prayer will come of itself then. We're invited to create our own last stanza(s) here. 

Blessed are you, Child Mary, our sister.
Blessed are you, Child Mary, who danced on the temple steps.
Blessed are you, Child Mary, who entered the Ark of the Lord.
Blessed are you, Child Mary, whose face wakes up my heart.
Blessed are you, Child Mary, full of spiritual nobility.
Blessed are you, Child Mary, living in the World of Peace.

Child Mary, are you sewing a cloth to be placed on the altar?
Child Mary, or to remind me of Jesus' shroud?
Child Mary, seated already as if on a throne.
Child Mary, whose lap will be Jesus' throne on earth.
Child Mary, serene in harmony with God.
Child Mary, bright against the darkness.

Rejoice, young Mary, the shawl of our rebellion falls from you.
Rejoice, young Mary, your heart is enlightened.
Rejoice, young Mary, delighting in God's Beauty.
Rejoice, young Mary, pure-hearted.
Rejoice, young Mary, whose refuge is in God.
Rejoice, young Mary, you see; you know.

Little daughter, I am silent and still with you.
Little daughter, speak on my behalf at the judgment day.
Little daughter, far from the lower world.
Little daughter, your fingers locked in prayer.
Little daughter, conversing with a seraph.
Little daughter, teach me to pray.

Happy are you, young Mary, as God stirs forth from his holy dwelling.
Happy are you, young Mary, the old order is passing away.
Happy are you, young Mary, attentive in solitude.
Happy are you, young Mary, listening in silence.
Happy are you, young Mary, in close union with God.
Happy are you, young Mary, infinitely loved by God.

Dear sister, direct me to heaven's higher things.
Dear sister, give me a fresh awareness of God.
Dear sister, what do you see in the gaze of your prayer?
Dear sister, interiorly formed as Christ's disciple.
Dear sister, God's dwelling is with the human race.
Dear sister, an abundance of love.

Blessed are you, Mary, in your joyful spirit.
Blessed are you, Mary, first to share in God's self-gift.
Blessed are you, Mary, blessed in your believing.
Blessed are you, Mary, the flame of Pentecost in your dress.
Blessed are you, Mary, whose dress is royal red.
Blessed are you, Mary, God will take his humanity from you.

Young Lady, whose purpose is discerned from afar.
Young Lady, awaken knowledge of Christ in us.
Young Lady, Christ to be conceived  in my heart.
Young Lady, you'll be Mother to the Prince of Peace.
Young Lady, may I find joy in children.
Young Lady, with you, I am a Child of God.

Be glad, little girl, whose face is turned towards the Light.
Be glad, little girl, soul-opened to heaven's desire.
Be glad, little girl, in your knowledge of God.
Be glad, little girl, in union with the Source of joy and peace.
Be glad, little girl, God makes all things new.
Be glad, little girl, keeping the Divine Word and pondering it in your heart.

Childhood of Mary, in solidarity with little girls aborted.
Childhood of Mary, in solidarity with girls enslaved.
Childhood of Mary, in solidarity with little girls exploited.
Childhood of Mary, in solidarity with girls terrified in war.
Childhood of Mary, in solidarity with girls left un-educated.
Childhood of Mary, in solidarity with little girls thrown away.

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Great is your happiness, O holy Virgin,
you are worthy of the highest praise;
For from you arose the sun of justice,
Christ our God.

Mass for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


  1. One might not need a theology degree to compose a poem, but your years as a priest gives you insights into peoples' minds and hearts that we might not perceive. You see the world through a multitude of eyes with different experiences. I appreciate that you allow your creativity to flow outward, passing on your inner feelings to us.

  2. Mary Beth BorelliJune 26, 2016 at 2:44 PM

    I especially connect with the Little Daughter stanza. Silent and still with Mary. Amen Father Stephen. This is a prayer gift for me today.

  3. Daily Mary, sings His praises, Daily Mary, lifts Him up for all to see, Daily Mary brings His overflowing graces. Daily Mary, calms my anxious heart. Daily Mary, faithful woman, I trust in you. Daily Mary, show me your beautiful face.

  4. ...and (s)he pondered all these things in his heart. This one will be prayed with over and over again. Thank you.

  5. Young Mary, help me find joy in my life and teach me to persevere.