Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 28, Saturday

Mary, Queen of the Society of Jesus

Discernment from a variety of vantage points this past week. A wordsmith directed our attention to the penmanship of the heart. A singer recommended we open ourselves by listening attentively. A spiritual director shared an unexpected musical treasure. A sound editor used an aural collage to illustrate the delicacy and precision of a dialogue with God. From a university campus came a plea to make our lives more like Christ’s and from a retreat center came a reminder that God’s creation is ever fresh and ongoing.

Salve Regina!

From earliest days, Jesuits have claimed Our Lady as patroness, mother and queen of the Society of Jesus (feast April 22.) In a tradition dating to the time of Ignatius, hundreds of thousands of lay Ignatians have honored Our Lady with works of charity as members of Jesuit sodalities dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even today, amongst Jesuits, no important occasion seems complete without a trip to the chapel for a passionate rendition of the great Marian hymn, the “Salve Regina.”

In a warmly personal reflection, Jesuit Post cofounder Paddy Gilger recalls the first time he heard — and sang — the “Salve Regina” and gives voice to the hymn’s profound and lasting impact.

Daily Reflection

Spiritual Discernment & the “Salve Regina”
by Paddy Gilger, SJ

It’s not always necessary to know what a prayer means to have it mean something. Or at least that’s what my first experience of praying the “Salve Regina” tells me.

I was in college at the time, visiting a group of young Jesuits who were studying philosophy in Chicago. We were standing in their house chapel, I think — we must have been. Although all I really remember is the warm wood of the pews, and this statue of St. Ignatius kneeling before the Black Madonna, and that it was hot and crowded. And then there must have been some signal that others knew (but I didn’t) because everyone rose together. Just as I’d gotten to my feet, the room pivoted and the statue of Mary became the single focus. And then they began to sing in a language I didn’t know, deep voices rolling off the warm wood:

Oh clemens…
Oh pia…
Oh dulcis…
Virgo Maria

Years later, after I’d been a Jesuit for some time, I lived on an Indian reservation for a while. While I was there I’d go with some of my Lakota friends to the sweat lodge where we’d sit in the dark before the glowing rocks and sweat and pray and sing. In the blackness the songs — all sung in Lakota — would cover us, stick to us, and, like our sweat, protect us from the heat. In the circle there was no light to distract us, only voices, and the drum, and the hiss of water against the rocks. There was no light to pull our attention away from the crashing heat, the pounding sound. There was no light by which to understand. Only wave after wave of song offered up in praise. It was a relief just to worship without being worried to understand first, to succumb to the invitation to be empty of mind and open of heart. It was the same when I heard the “Salve Regina” for the first time.

I learned Latin over a tortuous summer a couple years after moving away from the reservation. And though I’d learned what the words meant long before, I decided, one warm evening late in that summer, to try to transform the Latin words of the “Salve Regina” into English myself. It was while sitting at my desk doing declensions that the meaning of the words struck with force:

To thee do we cry…
To thee do we send up our sighs…
Show to us the fruit of thy womb…
Amen.

Discernimiento espiritual y el “Salve Regina”
Por: Paddy Gilger, SJ

No siempre es necesario saber que significa una oración, para que ésta signifique algo. O al menos esto es lo que mi primera experiencia de rezar el “Salve Regina” me dice.

Yo estaba en el colegio en ese momento, visitando a un grupo de Jesuitas jóvenes que estaban estudiando filosofía en Chicago. Estábamos parados en la capilla de la casa, creo — debe haber sido. Aunque lo único que realmente recuerdo es la cálida madera de los bancos, y una estatua de San Ignacio arrodillado frente a la Virgen Negra, y que hacía mucho calor y el lugar estaba lleno de gente. Y debe haber habido alguna otra señal que los demás supieron pero (que yo no) porque todos se levantaron a la vez. Y justo cuando me puse de pie, la sala pivotó y la estatua de María se convirtió en el foco de atención. Y entonces comenzaron a cantar en un idioma que yo no conocía, voces profundas rodando sobre la cálida madera:

Oh clemens…
Oh pia…
Oh dulcis…
Virgo Maria

Años más tarde, después de haber sido Jesuita desde hacía tiempo, viví en una reserva Indígena. Mientras estuve allí solíamos ir con algunos de mis amigos Lakota a la cabaña de sudar, donde nos sentábamos en la oscuridad frente a las brillantes rocas, a sudar, a rezar y a cantar. En la negrura, las canciones — todas cantadas en Lakota — nos cubrían, se nos pegaban y, como nuestro sudor, nos protegían del calor. En el círculo no había luces que nos distrajeran, sólo voces, el tambor y el murmullo del agua corriendo entre las rocas. No había luces que desviaran nuestra atención del calor aplastante, del sonido de golpeteo. No había luz por medio de la cual entender. Sólo ola tras ola de canciones ofrecidas en alabanza. Fue un alivio el hecho de adorar, sin estar preocupado por entender primero, de sucumbir a la invitación a vaciar la mente y a abrir el corazón. Fue igual cuando escuché el “Salve Regina” por primera vez.

Aprendí Latin durante un tortuoso verano, un par de años después de irme de la reserva. Y aunque aprendí el significado de las palabras, hacía ya mucho tiempo, decidí, una calurosa noche de ese verano, tratar de transformar las palabras en Latín del “Salve Regina”, en inglés, yo mismo. Fue cuando sentado, haciendo declinaciones en mi escritorio, el significado de las palabras me golpeó con fuerza:

A ti clamamos…
A ti suspiramos…
Muéstranos el fruto de tu vientre…
Amén.


Fr. Paddy Gilger, SJ, is an amateur sociologist and philosopher but a professional Milwaukee Brewers fan. He lived and worked at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge reservation and is currently associate pastor of St. John's Parish at Creighton University. Paddy is the founding editor-in-chief of The Jesuit Post.


Prayer

Holy God,
creator of universe,
you chose Mary to not only bear Jesus your Son
but to be a mother to him and a mother to us.
Help us to see her as a path to closer union with you,
with your Son,
and with the Holy Spirit that rushed upon her.
Help us to know the goodness of a spirit
by the fruits we bear after a spiritual encounter.
Show to us the fruit of our wombs
as we hope to bear you in the world.
Amen.


Petrov-Vodkin

Passages

Let in the nameless formless power
That beats upon my door,
Let in the ice, let in the snow,
The banshee howling on the moor.

Must I take pity on
The raging of the storm
That rose up from the great abyss
Before the earth was made,
That pours the stars in cataracts
And shakes this violent world?

Have pity on the raven’s cry,
The torrent and the eagle’s wing,
The icy water of the tarn
And on the biting blast.
Let in the wound,
Let in the pain,
Let in your child tonight.
: Kathleen Raine

Multimedia

Video
Deep End Dance: RTE (Conor Horgan/David Bolger)




Music
Salve Regina (piazza S. Pietro, Roma)



Learn more about
Mary, Queen of the Society of Jesus
http://livingspace.sacredspace.ie/F0422s/

Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
https://play.spotify.com/user/beajesuit/




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Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/14/19

America 9/30/19

America 9/16/19





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