Marian Prayers from Ignatius Press

Source: With God and with Men: Prayers by Adrienne von Speyr, Ignatius Press 1995.

The poetic prayers below are used with the permission of Ignatius Press.  To order this text or other Catholic books phone: 800-651-1531.

Through Mary to Christ  

Prayer I

Through you, Mother, we have come to your Son.
You conceived him, you carried him,
gave birth to him,
you accompanied him throughout his life,
in order to bring him to us and to give him to us.
And also in order to show us how a man
can bear and understand him,
how a man can place his life within
the life of your Son,
as to receive it from him.
In order to convey to us
the gift of his infancy, of his years at home with you,
the gift of his public life
and of the hour of his Passion.
At every phase of his life you were so involved
that everything his presence conveyed
found room in your receptive heart.
Yet not for you, but for us.

By your Yes, you placed yourself so totally
at the disposal of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit,
that the triune God gave us to the Son
right through you.
You led us to him, but you were always so much in God,
so much within your mission
and your own Yes,
that your only desire
was to act as the conveyor of the gift
and not as the original giver.
Yet for that very reason your act of conveying
also became a gift
that came from your humility
and that your humility gave us.

A gift to us,
but also a gift to God.
And we would like to ask you today
to accept into your Yes all
that makes up our lives, not just its joys,
but also its sacrifices, the roads we take
that we had not reckoned on before.
Do this so that we may once again come to your Son through you.
So that through you, who knew so well
how to carry out the Son's will,
we, too, may now accept anew everything
he intends for us in the will of the Father,
may now will it anew because it is his will.
But also that through you we may will anew,
with you, grateful that everything you did
occurred entirely within his mission.

And when the sacrifice costs more than we thought, -
when it is harder to bear than we imagined,
we want to remember that you did not shrink in fear from any sacrifice,
and that you did everything in the joy of your Yes.
And we want to ask you to intercede
for us With the Father, with your Son, and with the Spirit,
so that we may be permitted to live
by your strength,
to come in reality to the Son through you,
and to do in him what you have done for him all along.

And when you see your angel, Mother, remember
that his appearance assured
you of the way.
Ask him to surround us
with care out of love for you, just as he did for you,
to intercede for us just as he interceded for you
and, by his appearing, gave you the power
to say Yes in faith to everything.

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Through Mary to Christ  

Prayer II  

Lord, before you became man and
entered into your Passion,
you invited your Mother
to serve you as mother,
to bear your sacrifice with you,
but also to share with you your joys.

And the grace with which you endowed her
and by which she became your Mother
is so inexhaustibly great
that there is room in it for all who seek you,
for all who in their faith desire
to offer you sacrifices.
The sacrifice of a life in your service,
perhaps even the sacrifice of giving up this service,
the sacrifice of
unforeseen humiliations and sufferings.

And because you so loved your Mother
and granted her such a pure love for you,
we ask you, Lord, to receive us, too, every day
into this grace,
to show us a place in your relationship
to your Mother,
a place that allows us to offer up anew
each one of her sacrifices, to experience together with you
each one of her joys, and to do forever precisely
what the Mother, with you, and
with the Father and the Spirit and all the citizens of heaven,
expect of us. Grant us the joy and the grace of serving
today and in eternity. Amen.

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Prayer for the Right Use of Illness

Lord, bless the sick. All who know
or feel that they are sick,
all who are in pain,
all who are about to die.

Bless them not merely with enough strength to endure the pain,
bless them also so that they may learn
to bear it for you and
to see in suffering a grace.

Show them that every suffering has been
given a meaning by your suffering on the Cross,
a meaning that the Father has integrated
into the meaning of your own suffering
and has made useful for the redemption of the world.

Show them that, if they are willing
to suffer in your name,
pain and illness become fruitful;
that you can use them to help others,
to lighten their load,
to unblock paths
that would otherwise be closed.
Give them not only strength and courage but also patience.

Give them, lastly, love for the sufferings
that are asked of them:
the love that can spring only from your love
and can bear fruit only together with your love---
even though this fruit is hidden from their sight,
even though they do not know where you
intend to use the grace that comes from their suffering.

May your grace enable them to radiate such love
in the midst of their illness
that others are infected by it,
that their suffering helps
to transfigure the suffering of others,
that it reveals to the nurses and doctors who work with them
a reality that until now they had not known,
that it becomes a fresh revelation to their visitors
of the meaning of life and death.

Give them all such a state of maturity
that they may accept absolutely everything
as coming from your hand.

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Prayer of Mary Expecting the Child

She has given her Yes and knows that she will not take it back. She adores the Father, she adores the Spirit, she adores the Son.

Father, you have given me your Son.
He comes to me as God
and as the baby I am expecting.
Father, your handmaid is unworthy.
I spoke that first Yes in faith,
in confidence, in hope.
In the knowledge that your will for me had to be done.
I spoke this Yes in the Spirit of your Son
who is becoming my son.
I could not leave him without an answer.
For through you it was my baby who was asking me.

Father, now I am greatly afraid.
It is the fear of your mystery,
the fear of not being adequate to the task
you are setting me.
How am I, your handmaid, supposed to raise your Son?
How am I supposed to accompany him in his early years?
How am I supposed to teach him
to speak to you?
How will he learn from me
to adore you?

Father, I ask you for one thing:
keep my Yes,
keep it even now that fear is filling me,
keep it always as the word
that I myself do not have the strength to pronounce
but which in spite of that I have given to
my baby.

God the Holy Spirit, I have said Yes to you too.
I have said Yes in order to become a mother,
the mother I am expected to be for my baby.
The child has been entrusted to me
because he has already destined me
long ago to be his mother.
And now a great fear of this mystery
is filling me.

I know that I have given you not only my
body but also my spirit,
so that you might impregnate both,
in such a way that both truly serve the Father's Son
whom you have brought me.
But I am afraid. And I do not know
whether your Spirit takes away the fear in my spirit
or instills it in me.

All I ask is that you keep my Yes,
that you give me the strength to keep showing you every day
that I really intend to say Yes.
That is why I am asking you for your own Spirit,
which belongs to the Father and to my Son.

My child, my God, I adore you.
You are still too small to understand
my fear,
and yet, you are my God.
You are the God whom we have awaited for so long
and who has chosen me
to be your mother.
And even though I am so frightened now,
I am not worried about you, for I know
that you will know fear such as no one ever has before.
And I do not ask you to take
this fear from me, I ask you only
to make it fruitful in you
and, when you experience
the abyss of human fear,
when the Father and the Spirit abandon you,
to remember in spite of it all that you have a mother
who knows your fear,
a part of it at least.

Grant, Father, Son, and Spirit,
that by your grace I may fulfill my task, which I myself cannot understand,
according to your expectations.
And dispose of me day by day
according to your good pleasure,
always hearing the Yes,
even if I no longer should have
the strength to pronounce it. Amen.

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Mary's Prayer in the Family

The Mother has grown accustomed to her baby, she loves and fondles him, she lives in a motherly and womanly relationship with him as if the child were an ordinary human child and the family a normal human family. And suddenly she realizes that he is the King, that he is God; that her love for the child is legitimate but at the same time is in need of an infinite expansion; indeed, this has already been initiated and yet must be lived anew every day.

Father, I have so often seen in your child
only my child
and in my love for him have again and again proved
my mother's love, which was the child's due.
And my service of him was any mother's
service of her child.

I accepted everything
as it presented itself naturally,
I kept pace with the child step by step
and almost forgot that he was your child,
my God, who is destined to be the King of the universe.
And you want to open my love so wide
that the entire suffering of your Son
can find room in it. As much suffering
as a child can cause his mother,
as much suffering as the human God
can share with a believer along the way,
as much foreboding of suffering as a human heart can take
as an effective way of helping to bear the coming suffering of the Son.
The Cross that is meant specially for Christ the King
and will make him a truly divine King in the world.

With you, Lord, love is so close to pain,
and until now it was often
as if my love left pain behind.
But now you are stretching this love out
to encompass endless pain,
the pain your Son has in store for me,
because he must fulfill among us his task,
which is your mission.

And I know, Father, that
my task is comprised in his.
He has planned it in advance,
and it is he who fulfills my task.
It is always simply to say Yes,
a Yes of fear, a Yes of suffering,
a Yes that becomes inaudible and yet is heard.

Father, please, accept this Yes
that I pronounce only haltingly
as your Son pronounces it.
He says it with his divine confidence,
and I repeat it after him, in weakness and fear.

But just as he has taken up my task into his,
he has also drawn my Yes into his Yes;
hear, I beseech, his Yes
when you hear mine.
And I have no desire to count the days
and hours of my joy
but to lay everything in your hands
according to your need at the moment.

Give me everything in this way and not otherwise,
so that your Son may also receive
from his Mother the help in suffering he needs,
even if this help will serve
to make of him the King of sorrows,
who nonetheless in his kingly glory
reflects your glory.

I pray you, Father, in your name,
in the name of the Spirit,
and in the name of our Son. Amen.

Mary was, humanly speaking, surprised again and again at the fortunes that were reserved for her Son and her. Nevertheless, she had in God an anticipatory insight into the direction of her Son's path. She was aware of his expiatory mission and knew that this mission had to find its ultimate expression in death. She did not know the times, but she did realize where the way was leading.

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Mary's Prayer in the Adult Years of the Lord

The Son is embarked on the active life. She remembers that, during the thirty years he lived with her, she knew ever more clearly that he is God and King. And she prays to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit at the same time; and she associates all three most closely in speaking to them.

God, you are love,
and in love my Son
came to earth
in order to be King of us all.

And you, Father, have shown me again and again in the Spirit
and in your Son
that he is coming into his kingship.
Not King in the sense
that unbelievers understand it,
but King in your sense, Father.
A King who brings ready with himself his
kingdom, your heaven,
and a King who possesses everything
and keeps nothing for himself;
who distributes the whole of his property—
the truth of heaven—
and gives it wholly to each.

And every beneficiary of this gift
receives the kingdom and the truth,
and in every one of these kingdoms
you recognize your own kingdom,
brought to us by your Son.

So long as my Son stayed with me,
I had a notion of his kingship.
I saw him pray.
And I saw how every time he prayed
your heaven stood open
and your kingdom was coming.

Now he has gone forth as King
to bring your kingdom to all.
He has set out,
taking nothing with him
but this truth
that was at home with us
and now knows no homecoming,
so that he may become more and more
the perfect King.

His kingdom is completely invisible
and is the perfect truth,
and it is given away both invisibly
and visibly.
This visibility becomes evident to faith.
And he roams from one place to another
like a beggar,
because he is a King of the eternal truth,
and the whole kingdom wanders with him.

And because the whole kingdom accompanies him,
he can take unknown roads
away from all of us into foreign regions
while bringing the whole kingdom with him.
Each time he can give the whole revelation,
each time he can give himself prodigally.

Father, my Son, Holy Spirit,
all of us who believe in you
give thanks for my Son’s kingship,
in which the kingship of the Father and the Spirit
reveals itself visibly.
For his kingdom is the whole kingdom
of his Father and of the Spirit,
and he gives to each one of us
the whole heavenly truth of the Trinity.

Father, many will mock this King,
many will pretend to see nothing of this kingdom,
and yet you, Father,
in the midst of this mockery and blindness,
can communicate to all who seek you
something capable of strengthening their faith.
You will show them
that none of us would be capable of seeing
unless your grace granted him seeing eyes
that in our Son recognized the King,
eyes that in each of his words and in all his deeds perceived
your whole kingdom
and your whole truth.

Father, we all thank you,
and I am not alone in thanking you with those who believe,
your Son thanks you with us. Amen.

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Mary on the Way of the Cross

Prayer to the Son

I can no longer speak to you, my Son,
as a mother speaks with her son.
I cannot get close enough.
I have only the anonymous place of the Christian,
the place you left free for me
when you chose me to be your Mother.

I wanted to become your Mother
and at the same time be a woman who believes in you.
And now we can only speak to each other as believers.
I see you carry the heavy Cross.
I cannot help you as your Mother,
I can only be near you with my faith.
And I adore you.
And I know that you, carrying the Cross,
are nevertheless also in heaven.
And I seek you in the presence of the Father
and adore you and offer you my bitter affliction,
and I pray you
that my pain may help you
to carry your Cross.

I also beg you
to grant that,
even when you will no longer be present,
my faith may be strengthened by you
and may be at the disposition of all those who belong to you and love you.
And let me be a Mother to them all.
The Mother of a Son killed by crucifixion,
the Mother of all Christians crucified with him,
the Mother of all suffering men
who believe in you, the Mother of all
who long for you and seek you.
Let me be a Mother of sorrows,
so that I may be near you in sorrow
as you are near all of us in sorrow. Amen.

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Mary on the Way of the Cross

Prayer to the Father

My God, my Son's heaviest hour
is upon him.
I cannot help him.
And you will not help him,
because he is asking you to let him suffer.
And I ask you for help.
I ask you, accept his suffering.
Accept all of it.
I pray you, take my fear,
take my affliction, not away from me,
but to yourself,
so that my fear and my affliction
may be used according to the wishes of your Son.
I want no control over it.

My God, I am trying to give it to you,
and I know that all of us
who climb this hill
and see your Son suffer
would like to try to bear
what you give us to bear.
And we would like to bear it,
which is just what your Son,
who by your grace became my son,
wishes for all whom he loves. For all those who do not have the faintest idea of his existence.

We know that our help is meager.
We women are here but have no strength.
You can give us the strength to bear.

Father, you entrusted your Son to me
by your Spirit.
And as I have given him back to you daily and hourly,
I give him back to you now once more,
knowing that his suffering is nothing other
than the expression of your grace,
the expression of your love.

It is hard to understand,
I do not understand it at all.
And yet I know
that I must give precisely this,
that you require it in this way.
And I ask you:
Take your Son out of my hands
---for he is my Son---
and take at one and the same time everything
I myself have given him
and which in this farewell hour
bears only the name of pain and grief.
Take it, dispose of it,
let my suffering become as heavy
as you will,
I know (your Son has taught me this)
that this is how I must pray in this hour. Amen. 

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