Monday, May 24, 2010

Auxilium Christianorum, Ora Pro Nobis!

(The following is the "legend" for the feast day of Our Lady, Help of Christians, quoted by Dom Prosper Guéranger in his entry for 24 May in Volume VIII of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation of his 'The Liturgical Year' by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.)

Basilica of Our Lady, Help of Christians, Turin, Italy, taken from
From the Eastern Front blog

"The faithful have frequently witnessed miraculous interventions which prove that the Mother of God is ever ready with her help to repel the enemies of religion. It was on this account that, after the signal victory gained by the Christians over the Turks in the Gulf of Lepanto, through the intercession of the most blessed Virgin, the holy Pope [Saint] Pius the Fifth ordered that to the other titles given to the Queen of Heaven in the Litany of Loreto, there should be added this of Help of Christians [Auxilium Christianorum]. But one of the most memorable proofs of this her protection, and one which may be regarded as an incontestable miracle, is that which happened during the Pontificate of [Pope] Pius the Seventh."

"By the intrigues and armed violence of certain impious men [Napoleon chief among them], the Pontiff had been driven from the Apostolic See of Peter, and was kept in close confinement, mainly at Savona, for upwards of five years. During this period, by a persecution unheard of in any previous age, every possible means was resorted to in order to prevent his governing the Church of God. When lo! suddenly and to the surprise of men, he was restored to the Pontifical Throne, to the great joy, and it might be almost said with the concurrence, of the whole world."

"The same thing happened also a second time, when a fresh disturbance arose and compelled him to leave Rome, and go, with the Sacred College of Cardinals, into Liguria. Here again, the storm that threatened great destruction was appeased by a most prompt interference of God's providence, and the Pontiff's return to Rome filled Christendom with new joy. Before returning, however, he would carry out an intention which his captivity had hitherto prevented him from doing: with his own hand he solemnly placed a golden crown on the celebrated statue of the Mother of God that was venerated at Savona under the title of Mother of Mercy."

Statue of Our Lady of Mercy in Savona, taken from
Feast of Mary, Help of Christians

"The same Sovereign Pontiff, Pius the Seventh, who was thoroughly acquainted with every circumstance of these events, rightly attributed their happy issue to the intercession of the most holy Mother of God, whose powerful help he himself had earnestly besought, besides urging all the faithful to obtain it by their prayers. He therefore instituted a solemn feast in honour of the same Virgin-Mother, under the title of Help of Christians. It was to be kept every year on the twenty-fourth of May, the anniversary of his own most happy return to Rome. He also sanctioned a proper Office for this feast, in order that the remembrance of so great a favour might ever be vividly on the minds of the faithful, and secure the thanksgiving it deserved."


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