Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Prayer Before The Queen of Peace

The monks of Mount Saviour end their day of rhythmic work and prayer, in the crypt of their chapel, where the pilgrim discovers this tender statue of the Virgin Mary with her Holy Child. The image was likely created in 13th century France and given to Father Damasus when he founded the monastery in the early 1950's. The monks have titled her: Queen of Peace.

Look! Mary carries Jesus off her left hip, as mothers do. She plays with his foot, while he tugs on her veil with both hands. The statue was originally painted, indeed, bits of color remain on the folds of her mantle, dress and hair. Mother and Child smile at each other. Silly to call those centuries, the Dark Ages. 

Notice the ceiling ribs converging over her head. She is a prayer-locus. Here's my own prayer, but you can zoom in on the photo for a closer look and write your own. Prayer springs from our breathing and from our hearts, the doorway to which is silence.

I arise today ~
Mary's smile
and that of her Child.
In her playful carrying,
and her locked-on gaze.
In her crowned elegance,
and sparked prayer.

I arise today ~
whispered to 
and enfolded in mantle.
Gladdened by wonder
and the Infant's climbing.
Protected and defended,
against the un-doing.

May I live this day ~
Hopeful in darkness,
Still standing in confusion,
Patient with weakness,
Good-hearted with ignorance,
Thawed by the death-news.


  1. May I live in this day, hopeful I'd darkness. Although this prayer is your prayer Fr. Stephen, it speaks to my inner self. Thank you for putting your creative thoughts inot words for us who can't do it our.

    1. You're welcome. But I think you and all the others CAN write our own prayers. They don't have to be publish-able. 1) It will only come to you out of silence. 2) It must be your own words - not church talk or theological words. 3) It happens by careful looking: at the image, at the tree, at the sky, at the tabernacle, at the animals, at other people. 4) Go below the surface of things - what I call the "underneath." Give it a try - you don't have to show anyone. And be patient; it may take months to write your own. And that's just fine.

  2. I arise today
    in full awareness
    this Mary and Jesus
    reminding me that we are not alone
    others pray in darkness with me

  3. Maybe we can use this to be inspired to go and sit in a church and just spend some time in front of the Blessed Mother in silent thought. The words will flow from within us

  4. For sure. And/or perhaps there is an image at home that I have taken for granted - it's just there and I don't pay it much mind. Take it down, dust it off, put it in a new place. Sit. Listen.