Monday, November 26, 2012

Ave Maris Stella

AVE MARIS STELLA  Sung by the Daughters of Mary 
                                                          (Click to hear beautiful song)

During a riot at Rome, a mob came to the house where St. Bridget of Sweden lived; a leader talked of burning Bridget alive. She prayed to Our Lord to know if she should flee to safety. Jesus advised her to stay: "It doesn't matter if they plot Thy death. My power will break the malice of Thy enemies: If Mine crucified Me, it is because I permitted it." Our Blessed Mother Added "Sing as a group the Ave Maris Stella and I'll guard you from every danger."

Ave Maris Stella is a popular liturgical hymn of unknown origin. It can be dated back to at least the 9th century for it is preserved in the Codex Sangallensis, a 9th century manuscript now in the Swiss Monastery of St. Gallen. Its appearance in the Codex points to a composition in possibly the 8th century. The hymn is frequently attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and sometimes has been attributed to King Robert (1031), both of whom are too late to have authored it. It has also been attributed to Venantius Fortunatus (d 609) and Paul the Deacon (d 787). It is found in ancient codices of the Divine Office for Vespers on Marian feasts. Today it is still in use in the Divine Office and in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin.

What Does Ave Maris Stella Mean?

That is what most likely is going through your mind. Ave Maris Stella comes from The Pieta. Ave Maris Stella means Hail thou star of ocean. So it is Marian Related.

                                                               St Bridget of Sweden

Composed July 19th, 1992
Brother John Raymond

"St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. Her father and mother were pious Catholics. The family would discuss the stories of the martyrs who died for the faith in Sweden. The castle the family lived in contained a chapel in which little child would attend Holy Mass daily. When she was ten a sermon about Our Lord's sufferings pierced her to the heart. She was so distraught that night that Jesus appeared to her on the Cross. She asked Him who has done this. He replied, "Those who despise Me and forget My love." For this time forward Christ crucified was imprinted on her soul.

She married a wealthy man named Ulf who later was to occupy a high office of the State. Saint Bridget became the mother of eight children. Also she was in charge of running their vast estate. This was no small task in the 1300's. There were spinning wheels and looms, orchards and fields, brewing, storing fruit, baking, dovecots, poultry yards, and beehives to contend with. Every day, before sitting down to eat St. Bridget would serve a meal to twelve poor people. On Thursdays she would even wash their feet in imitation of Our Blessed Lord. St. Bridget would always take her children along on works of mercy to the poor to train them in doing good works for others.

After twenty-five years of marriage St. Bridget and her husband received an inspiration to voluntarily seperate and become religious. For three years Ulf lived as a guest in a Cistercian abbey where he died. Later St. Bridget was given permission to live as a guest of this same monastery. She now began a life of intensive penance, prayer, and mortification. She had frequent visions of Our Lord's Passion along with representations of Heaven, hell and purgatory. She would often see souls she had prayed for who were dying or in purgatory ascending to Heaven.

Saint Bridget received the gift of prophecy. She administered strong rebukes by Heaven's command to those leading evil lives. Many denounced her and some even threatened to burn her. She advised many high people in office, even the king himself.

Saint Bridget was entrusted with two main missions from Heaven both of which she labored at diligently but were to be completed by others. Our Lord revealed to her that He wished her to found a new contemplative religious order based on a rule which He was to give her. This new order, now known as the Bridgettines, were to have a great impact on the Church under the guidance of her daughter, Saint Katherine, who became the first Superior. Today there are still a number of houses in Europe, such as Syon Abbey in Devon, England.

The second mission was to try to persuade the Holy Father to return to Rome from France. Though she sent many messages to him she would not live to see him return. But she paved the way for another great mystic, St. Catherine of Siena who would succeed in bringing the Pope back to Rome.

St. Bridget lived in Rome with her daughter Katherine. They helped the poor, the afflicted, and the sinners. The miraculous began to be publicly observed in the life of St. Bridget. She healed the sick, was raised off the ground during prayer, and had many visions. Long before she had joined the third order of Saint Francis and had pleasure of seeing him in a vision when visiting his shrine. Before her life came to a close she was commanded by Our Lord to visit the Holy Land. During this visit she had many visions of the life of Jesus and Mary.

Now as her life came to a close St. Bridget was to suffer the martyrdom of faith. All visions and heavenly consolations ceased. She was plagued with the temptation that her life was a failure. However towards her last days on earth the Blessed Mother appeared to her and exhorted her to practice patience in the expiation of the negligences and defects of her life through her illnesses. She ended her life as a lesson to us all with the words, "Lord into Thy hands I commend my spirit."

After her death innumerable cures were reported through her intercession. So great was the effect of this great saint that even today the largely Lutheran Swedish nation honors her considering her one of their great women of Sweden."

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