A Convert’s Lament To Mary (A Few Words for Wednesday)


Our Eastern brethren have been observing the Dormition Fast since the first of August. It continues until August 15th this year and concludes on the Feast of the Dormition, which Western Catholics celebrate as the Feast of the Assumption. In honor of this tradition, I will be sharing some of our Marian posts. This one is from October of last year…

Edward Caswall was another Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism in the mid 1800′s. He also joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, like his friends Blessed John Henry Newman and Frederick William Farber.  And, like them again, he was a prolific poet and hymnist.

Below is one of Caswall’s fine poems included in his book of verse entitled The Masque of Mary. This particular  poem really resonates with me.

As a convert to Catholicism, I pretty much ignored Our Lady my whole life. Lately, I’ve been making it a point to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and pray the Rosary regularly with my family. Although I’m not always 100% successful in this effort, I can truthfully say that I’ve been coming around to recognizing the significance of The Blessed Virgin as both the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven.

Much like Caswall, though, I wish I would have come around sooner (but better late than never).

A Convert’s Lament to Mary

Among the thoughts that in my heart
Awaken grief sincere,
Causing with sudden pang to start
The unexpected tear,
Is this, that in the days gone by,
Star of the wintry sea!
Blinded by darkest heresy,
I thought so light of thee.

O Mother of my Lord and God,
Whom none invoke in vain;
O Path of life, which all have trod,
Who now in glory reign!

Had I but learnt in earlier years
To seek thine aid above,
To offer thee my infant tears,
Thy loving glance to love,—

How many deeds of sin and shame
Which now my heart appal,
Scar’d at the sound of thy pure name,
Had not been done at all!

How many a desolated space
Of vainly wasted hours,
Had bloom’d beneath thy smile of grace,
With paradisal flowers!

Mother! receive thine erring child;
Look tenderly on me;
From thy dear bosom long beguil’d,
I now return to thee.

More of Edward Caswell’s poems are here in The Masque of Mary, along with other of Caswell’s works on the YIM Catholic Bookshelf.

  • Warren Jewell

    It is a singular marvel to me how any has but greatest reverence for Mary, holy Virgin Mother of God. But, I can see how being a cradle Catholic who went to Catholic parochial school helped such as me.It helped in that we kids could esily relate to Jesus Christ being a kid once, too. And, that means the central glory of Mom. What kid doesn't need his Mom, and not only for nurturing but day-to-day guidance and gentle charm? Hence, we learned of Jesus' Mom, Mary, while yet on our Mom's knee.You could say that in our innocent sense child Jesus was like a remote sibling; and, Mom is Mary and – ta-daa! – Mary is MOM.All praise to You, Lord Jesus, for Your wisdom of giving us Your Mother as our own. What we can learn of love and hope and intense faith from her can help You bring us Home. In Your Name, for Your glory.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Good one Warren.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06334203937303147489 ThereseRita

    I think often of the Little Flower's statement that she felt sorry for Mary because she didn't have a Mother to pray to. Like when I'm praying the Sorrowful Mysteries, I just think that it must've been harder for Mary because of that & because St Joseph was dead by that time too. But she did it…and she's still doing it. She is SO amazing!

  • http://www.explainingchristianity.com Shane Kapler

    What a treasure – thank you!

  • Brad

    I wish everyone would read the abridged version ($15, blue paperback) of Venerable Mary of Agreda's Mystical City of God. Confusing title, since the book is basically a biography of Mary. I won't attempt to describe it further, since I can't tell you how it will feel to have your "Helen Keller at the well" moment. If only one person actually takes my advice, I will have done my deed for the day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    @ Brad: Thanks for the tip. The book has been added to the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. Come and see!

  • http://www.descentoftheholyspirit.org Irene Matta

    Strongly recommend the “Akathist to the Theotokos” for both OT and NT understanding of the Christian Orthodox Church about the Virgin “birthgiver of God”! This is heart-felt prayer based on the truths revealed in Holy Scripture and Tradition – at its deepest and most profound. Indeed, the Mystery of the Incarnation is wrapped round with her own mystery of the dwelling place – the palace- of the King of Glory!


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