Our Morning Offring – 22 August – Celebrating the Queenship of Mary
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve,
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us
And after this our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
℣ Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟ that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Almighty, everlasting God,
who by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit
didst prepare the body and soul
of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary
to become a dwelling-place fit for Thy Son,
grant we pray,
that as we rejoice in her commemoration,
so by her fervent intercession,
we may be delivered from present evils
and from everlasting death.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
The Hail Holy Queen or Salve Regina is a choral anthem going back to the eleventh century. Since the thirteenth century it is the last evening chant in many religious communities. The authorship is not clearly defined. The Salve is first mentioned in a meditation by Anselm II, Bishop of Lucca, 1073-86 (PL 184, 1078-98) and (erroneously) to Hermannus Contractus (1013-54) of Reichenau.
The “Hail, Holy Queen” is a salutation deprecatonia, a greeting of petition and intercession. Mary is called mother of mercy because Christ her Son, is the incarnation of God’s love and mercy. Giving us Christ, she gave us, sinful humans, the life and hope we need (as baptised children of Eve) to survive in this vale of tears. This antiphon is not part of the rosary but represents the same spirit. It is part of the official prayer of the Church (Liturgy of the Hours: Vespers and/or Compline) and thus is even more precious than the rosary. Sung, it becomes a wonderful expression of our spiritual intimacy with Mary.
It is interesting that it was a Domenican (like today’s Saint Giacomo Bianconi), Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237) who initiated the custom of singing the Salve Regina in procession each night after Compline in the Dominican Order, to ask Our Lady’s protection of the brothers against temptations from the devil. This is a custom still practised by Dominicans throughout the world and by our community each night.