Blessed Virgin Mary "Star of The Sea"

Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ.

Maris Stella (Latin, "Hail Star of the Sea") is a plainsong Vespers hymn to Mary. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages and has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions. The creation of the original hymn has been attributed to several people, including Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), Saint Venantius Fortunatus (6th century) and Hermannus Contractus (11th century).The text is found in a 9th century manuscript in the Abbey of Saint Gall.The melody is found in the Irish plainsong "Gabhaim Molta Brede", a piece in praise of St. Bridget. The popular modern hymn Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star, is loosely based on this plain song original.

The Latin text of the hymn as authorized for use in the Liturgy of the Hours of the Roman Rite (ordinary form) is the following:

Ave, maris stella,

Dei mater alma,
atque semper virgo,
felix celi porta.
 Hail, star of the sea,

Nurturing Mother of God,
And ever Virgin
Happy gate of Heaven.
Sumens illud Ave

Gabrielis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Eve[4] nomen.
 Receiving that "Ave" (hail)

From the mouth of Gabriel,
Establish us in peace,
Transforming the name of "Eva" (Eve).
Solve vincla reis,

profer lumen cecis,
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce.
 Loosen the chains of the guilty,

Send forth light to the blind,
Our evil do thou dispel,
Entreat (for us) all good things.
Monstra te esse matrem,

sumat per te precem
qui pro nobis natus
tulit esse tuus.
 Show thyself to be a Mother:

Through thee may he receive prayer
Who, being born for us,
Undertook to be thine own.
Virgo singularis,

inter omnes mitis,
nos culpis solutos
mites fac et castos.
 O unique Virgin,

Meek above all others,
Make us, set free from (our) sins,
Meek and chaste.
Vitam prosta puram,

iter para tutum,
ut videntes Jesum
semper colletemur.
 Bestow a pure life,

Prepare a safe way:
That seeing Jesus,
We may ever rejoice.
Sit laus Deo Patri,

summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto
honor, tribus unus. Amen.

Praise be to God the Father,
To the Most High Christ (be) glory,
To the Holy Spirit
(Be) honour, to the Three equally. Amen.

"Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star" is a Marian hymn written by Father John Lingard (1771-1851), a Catholic priest and historian who, through the works of William Cobbett, helped to smooth the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in England. Loosely based on the medieval Latin plainchant Ave Maris Stella, the hymn is generally sung to a specially modified traditional English melody.

Hail, Queen of heaven, the ocean star,
Guide of the wanderer here below,
Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care,
Save us from peril and from woe.

Mother of Christ, Star of the sea
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.

O gentle, chaste, and spotless Maid,
We sinners make our prayers through thee;
Remind thy Son that He has paid
The price of our iniquity.

Virgin most pure, Star of the sea,
Pray for the sinner, pray for me.

And while to Him Who reigns above
In Godhead one, in Persons three,
The Source of life, of grace, of love,
Homage we pay on bended knee:

Do thou, bright Queen, Star of the sea,
Pray for thy children, pray for me.

Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris, first reliably used with relation to the Virgin Mary in the ninth century. The title was used to emphasize Mary's role as a sign of hope and as a guiding star for Christians, especially gentiles, whom the Old Testament Israelites metaphorically referred to as the sea, meaning anyone beyond the "coasts", or, that is to say, sociopolitical, and religious (Mosaic law), borders of Israelite territory. Under this title, the Virgin Mary is believed to intercede as a guide and protector of those who travel or seek their livelihoods on the sea. This aspect of the Virgin has led to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, being named as patroness of the Catholic missions to seafarers, the Apostleship of the Sea, and to many coastal churches being named Stella Maris or Mary, Star of the Sea. This devotion towards Our Lady with this ancient title is very popular throughout the Catholic world.

The miraculous statue of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Basilica of Our Lady (Maastricht), the most important Marian shrine of the Netherlands Stella Maris "sea-star" is a name of a Ursae Minoris or Polaris, the "guiding star" (also "lodestar", "ship star", "steering star", etc.) because it has been used for celestial navigation at sea since antiquity. The name is applied to the Virgin Mary in Saint Jerome's Latin translation of the Onomasticon by Eusebius of Caesarea.

Paschasius Radbertus in the ninth century wrote of Mary, Star of the Sea, as a guide to be followed on the way to Christ "lest we capsize amid the storm-tossed waves of the sea." At this time too the plain song hymn "Ave Maris Stella" ("Hail, Star of the Sea"), became increasingly popular.

In the twelfth century, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: "If the winds of temptation arise; If you are driven upon the rocks of tribulation look to the star, call on Mary; If you are tossed upon the waves of pride, of ambition, of envy, of rivalry, look to the star, call on Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look at the star, call upon Mary."

Pope Pius XII in his encyclical, Doctor Mellifluus, also quoted Bernard of Clairvaux in saying; Mary ... is interpreted to mean 'Star of the Sea.' This admirably befits the Virgin Mother.. (for) as the ray does not diminish the brightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary's virginity.

Devotional application

A nineteenth century painting of Mary, Star of the SeaThe idea of Mary as a guiding star for seafarers has led to devotion to Our Lady, Star of the Sea in many Catholic coastal and fishing communities. Numerous churches, schools and colleges are dedicated to Stella Maris, Our Lady Star of the Sea, or Mary, Star of the Sea.

Stella Maris Monastery, the foundation house of the Carmelite order was established on Mount Carmel, Israel, in the early thirteenth century. The abbey was destroyed several times, but a refounded Stella Maris monastery is still considered the headquarters of the order.

Devotions to this title of Mary are found in the popular Catholic Hymn, Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star and the ancient prayer Ave Maris Stella

 Doctor Mellifluus is an encyclical of Pope Pius XII on the doctor of the Church Bernard of Clairvaux, given at Rome, St. Peter's, on the 24th of May, on the feast of Pentecost, 1953, in the 15th year of his pontificate.

The "Doctor Mellifluus, the last of the Fathers, but certainly not inferior to the earlier ones, was remarkable for such qualities of nature and of mind, begins Pius XII the encyclical letter. The Pope highlights that Bernard had a rather low opinion of speculative theology. His teaching was drawn, almost exclusively, from the pages of Sacred Scripture and from the Fathers, which he had at hand day and night in his profound meditations: and not from the subtle reasoning of dialecticians and philosophers, which, on more than one occasion, he clearly held in low esteem. It should be remarked that he does not reject that human philosophy which is genuine philosophy, namely, that which leads to God, to right living, and to Christian wisdom. Rather does he repudiate that philosophy which, by recourse to empty wordiness and clever quibbling, is overweening enough to climb to divine heights and to delve into all the secrets of God, with the result that, as often happened in those days, it did harm to the integrity of faith and, sad to say, fell into heresy.

He described the great character, abilities, sanctity and knowledge of Bernard. The encyclical uses several quotes of the saint, in a largely historical review. Only in few places, Pope Pius draws parallels to the present times, thus when he describes the ardent love of God and the mystical qualities and doctrines of the saint, which are neglected or even forgotten today. The encyclical highlights the role of the papacy in the writings of Bernard and his mariology.

Bernard differentiates different kinds of knowledge, the highest being theological. Some who want knowledge for the sole purpose of knowing, and this to him is unseemly curiosity. Some seek knowledge in order to be known themselves; this is unseemly vanity. And there are also those who seek knowledge in order to sell their knowledge, for example, for money or for honors; this is unseemly quest for gain.

But there are also those who seek knowledge in order to edify, and this is charity. And there are those who seek knowledge in order to be edified, and this is prudence.
[edit] MariologyBernard prayed for the intercession of Mary in his confused time. The faithful today are requested to equally turn to Mary to pray for peace and freedom for the Church and the nations of this world. To this warm love of Jesus Christ was joined a most sweet and tender devotion towards His glorious Mother, whose motherly love he repaid with the affection of a child, and whom he jealously honoured. So great was his confidence in her most powerful intercession, that he did not hesitate to write: "It is the will of God that we should have nothing which has not passed through the hands of Mary." Likewise: "Such is the will of God, Who would have us obtain everything through the hands of Mary." Pope Pius concludes his Encyclical Letter in the words of Bernard " to invite all to be more and more devout to the loving Mother of God, and each in his respective state in life, to strive to imitate her exalted virtues.

Doctor Mellifluus quotes three central elements of Bernards mariology: How he explained the virginity of Mary, the Star of the Sea, how the faithful should pray on the Virgin Mary, and how Bernard relied on the Virgin Mary as Mediatrix.

Mary is interpreted to mean 'Star of the Sea'. This admirably befits the Virgin Mother. There is indeed a wonderful appropriateness in this comparison of her with a star, because as a star sends out its rays without harm to itself, so did the Virgin bring forth her Child without injury to her integrity. And as the ray does not diminish the rightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary's virginity.

When the storms to temptation burst upon you, when you see yourself driven upon the rocks of tribulation, look at the star, call upon Mary. When swallowed by pride or ambition, or hatred, or jealousy, look at the star, call upon Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look at the star, call upon Mary. If troubled on account of the heinousness of your sins, distressed at the filthy state of your conscience, and terrified at the thought of the awful judgment to come, you are beginning to sink into the bottomless gulf of sadness and to be swallowed in the abyss of despair, then think of Mary. In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name leave thy lips, never suffer it to leave your heart.

Theologically, Bernard, a Doctor of the Church, is a fervent supporter of the Mediatrix interpretation of Mary. God and World meet in her. Divine life flows through her to the whole creation. She is one with Jesus, who wants to save all and who passes all graces through her. She is the mediatrix to God, the ladder on which sinners may climb up to him, the royal road to him, because she is full of grace.



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