Ode to Rome

I felt so inspired, and because I’m going to midnight mass tonight I thought we might celebrate with an appreciation of the most beautiful liturgy I’ve ever attended, the Roman Rite.

Hail Rome whose ancient solemn rite, leads us through this blessed night, whose Christmas voice is raised to sing to the glory of our blessed king. A single voice raised round the world, to open our hearts to things untold.

Whose holy saints and one accord, worship humbly our little Lord. Behold her, Rome, whose ancient chanting leaves our weary hearts now dancing. Blessed voices in accord, humbly sing before the Lord, whose body ever present is, to those who seek the place it lives.

Blessed Rome, whose faithfulness will guide the weary world to rest. Whose martyrs and saints all fall before, this tiny little infant Lord.

Hail Mary whose blessed heart, from those words did not depart, and when he was raised upon His throne, felt a sword pierce through her bones. Blessed Mother of our God, the ark of Heaven angels laud.

Benedicamus Domino, puer natus est pro nobis.


12 thoughts on “Ode to Rome

  1. that which carries the presence of God has been made holy. thus we can say hail mary. She is the ark of the new covenant, she bears the life (aaron’s rod), the law (jesus himself is the new law) and the bread of heaven(kinda obvious).

    give credit where credit is due. you’ll be wiser for it. haha.

    ultimately we all hail Jesus to be sure, but without Mary, there is no Jesus. without the fiat the “be it done unto me according to your word,” as well as the prayers of st. simeon and st. anna, there is no messiah.

    God’s disclosure rests on his people because he’s chosen it that way.

    so i’ll gladly say hail mary. haha. Oh Chad, I’ quite fond of you, and I appreciate our talks. ^_^

  2. my comment was a little tongue in cheek – but as great as Mary’s faith was (and it was) after God’s work of imaculate conception her experience was pretty much like any other woman’s (aside from the whole, “I’m still a virgin but pregnant” story she had to tell 🙂

    also Jesus didn’t seem to elevate her like Rome has

    Mark 3:32-35
    … “32A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

     33″Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
     34Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Just sayin :p

    • I’ve thought about that a decent amount. I think our bias is anti-Marian but the statement itself has little to do with his real family and is really about a call to discipleship and the defining factors of who is the family in the kingdom of God. It’s a soteriological/ecclesial statement, not a marian judgment.

      Jesus didn’t elevate her necessarily, but from very early on the Church did, because she was the prime grounds for combating heresies, and the same still holds true. What we believe about the Mother of God will impinge upon our beliefs about him. They’re intimately related.

      but nevertheless, I’ve reached my position through research, prayer and study, and it’s not been an easy road, but it’s worth traveling.

  3. the issue for me is not the virtue of Mary, she is clearly a great example of faith and the protestant neglect of her is unfortunate.

    However, neither is she elevated above other followers of Jesus in the sense that she owns a particular virtue not also available to us and owned by other believers (John the Baptist comes to mind.)

    When we venerate particular saints (even for the purpose of honoring God and pointing to Jesus) it ultimately leads to a class system (saints and sinners) as well as a dimished view of true worship.

    I mean no disrespect to your convictions, I just have my own as well 🙂

    • i think your concern for a democratic idea of heaven ad holiness is shaped by not the gospel, but other apriori convictions.

      I think that Mary possesses no virtue unavailable to us, but rather, she is the only one who has gone there. If anyone else had gone there, the way she had i’m sure they’d equally deserve our respect. However, still she has a historical and ontological specificity in salvation history.

      It’s not her virtue that separates her as much as simply who and what she is. She’s the bearer of the new covenant, she was and is God’s throne. Jesus said John was the greatest of the prophets, and he obviously saw his followers as separate from the crowd.

      When we venerate particular saints it should remind us that heaven is not a free for all democracy where we all get our merry little way. I think we should give credit where credit is due. However, I understand the protestant concern with the idea that making saints a focus can lead to apathy in that people feel they cannot achieve those statuses. Yet the concern of the Church is that we would all so desire to be transformed. Even if protestants don’t admit to a saint system or beatification explicitly, it’s implicit.

      Oral Roberts and other preachers like Benny Hinn just get more respect than others, for better or worse.

      I think that rather than lead us from true worship, the proper veneration of saints can inspire us to true worship by recognizing the depths of the power of the resurrection and the literal ontological unity it makes possible between the living and the dead in real communion. I understand your concerns, but any catholic worth their salt would want to address those concerns by pointing to the power of true devotion.

      Catholics are just as concerned with ritualism as Protestants. we just have different answers.

      and you know me, i’m a strange breed all the way around.

    • to add onto my opening statement, since it sounded a bit harsh: I think that heaven’s not a democracy, neither is piety. faith and piety are never synonymous. whoever works toward devotion and seeks the lord will be more evident of that fact.

      I could never think of myself today as in the same league as Francis of Assisi. we can’t escape the miracles that happened to these people, nor can we escape that they command attention.

      Mary is inescapably Mary, mother of God, the ark of Heaven, the godbearer. It’s not just her virtue, or the virtues of other saints, but their particular lives, the shape of manifest holiness invites us to follow after them as they follow after Christ. (just like St. Paul said)


  4. “I think that Mary possesses no virtue unavailable to us, but rather, she is the only one who has gone there.”

    Gone where exactly? Without taking anything away from her faith, where did she go that those in Hebrews 11 did not go? She was chosen, God called her blessed, what else is spoken of her? The written Word of God stands above tradition (understand I am not divorcing it from the Church) it is an anchor that keeps our creativity from floating into the clouds of over speculation and heresy.

    God came to earth as a baby, he chose to do so in the way all children are born. I think it is more profitable for us to meditate on Hebrews 10:5-10 than it is for us to awe at the faith of Mary in Luke 1. I understand your statement about “any Catholic worth their salt” but the church has failed repeatedly at this, especially in the third world where the veneration of the Saints is usually married with local pagan tradition.

    There are plenty of books of theology in the world, but only one canon of Scripture, let us hold closely to the text as an anchor for our creativity, and a critique of any tradition.

    I enjoyed this exchange my friend, let’s grab coffee next week and hang out, either before or after we see the amazing “Avatar!”

  5. Gone where exactly? i meant she’s the only one who could have lived the piety that she did, she’s unique. just like Jesus.

    I agree that scripture is to be taken seriously, but i think a right reading of scripture leads us towards Mary and the saints, not away from them. But again, here it’s less of a matter of hermeneutics than of informative biases.

    “the church has failed repeatedly” my only point…who appointed you or martin luther or any other protestant judge-arbiter of the faith? enough said.

    there is only one canon, but it was created and given to us by the faithful traditions of men. Scripture is not a miracle, it’s a record. It’s authorty rests not on supernatural speculations about inspiration, but in the fact that it is given to us and we are bound to it.

    let’s do coffee either before or after avatar. I’d like that very much too.

    I can’t wait! we’re going to imax 3d right?

    • Well I’m no Martin Luther but that’s fine with me…

      We are going to the imax 3d at Gulf Coast, it’s on me, I’ll let you know when.

      See ya!

  6. A few points of clarity…

    1. “after God’s work of imaculate conception her experience was pretty much like any other woman’s…” [Chad]. I believe Chad misspoke, considering the Immaculate Conception is when our Blessed Mother was protected from sin the womb, in order to be the pure Ark and New Eve of Christ. The Virgin Conception is what most protestants believe in, while the Virgin Birth relates to her being virgin during and after Christ’s birth.

    2. We should keep in mind that the Ave Maria, the Hail Mary is composed of Scripture; it was the angel that uniquely greeted her, told her she was full of grace and Elizabeth’s statement to Mary composes the “blessed” portion.

    3. Mary’s virtue and vocation are beyond any other human being. She has an unrepeatable vocation in the Incarnation. She is the Ark of the New Testament, the New Eve of the New Adam, and she is the Queen of the Davidic Kingdom. These three callings and positions within salvation history are beautifully unique from the rest of humanity.

    4. The relationship between Tradition and Scripture is complicated. The Council of Trent rejected saying revelation is partially in both, but simply stated both are needed. After Vatican II the trend is that Scripture and Tradition both contain the FULL revelation of Christ, yet Scripture lacks form and is largely implicit, while Tradition has the formal aspect and makes implicit knowledge explicit.

    For Maria theology is suggest “Hail Holy Queen,” by Scott Hahn, it is deceivingly simple and good foundation. On tradition, I highly suggest Yves Congar’s work, “The Meaning of Tradition.”

    I give no opinion of my own, only that of our forefathers.

    Ave Maria, gratia plena, dominus tecum.

    Thank you Eli.


    • Harrison, as always you have a penetrating clarity to say succinctly what i’d been trying to say.

      especially with points 1-3.

      Thanks as well for the book suggestions, I’m a fan of Congar, so I’ll be glad to pick up that work. And I’ve heard of Hahn, so they’re both joining the Amazon wishlist.

      Thank You Harrison.


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