Monday, 22 April 2013

Latin Prayer of the week: The Memorare

This week's Latin prayer to learn is that beautiful appeal to Our Lady, the Memorare.


The Memorare has traditionally been attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux (1190-1153), and certainly echoes of its theology can be found in his sermons.

However, because no early manuscripts of it have survived (the earliest dates to 1489), many now think it is of later composition, and suggest that the misattribution results from an association with its seventeenth century popularizer, Fr Claude Bernard (1588-1641).

There are many miracles attributed to its use, including the cure of Fr Bernard from an illness, and his near contemporary St Francis de Sales' delivery from the torment of a demon who claimed he was numbered amongst the damned.

The earliest manuscripts include it as part of a much longer prayer, Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria, and  like many such prayers, there are a number of versions of it around (including a longer verse version by St Louis de Montfort).  The most common form, though, dates back to the official 1849 list of indulgenced prayers.  It still comes with a partial indulgence.

The text

Here is the version that appears in the Compendium of the Catechism:

Memoráre, o piíssima Virgo María,
non esse audítum a sæculo,
quemquam ad tua curréntem præsídia,
tua implorántem auxília,
tua peténtem suffrágia, esse derelíctum.
Ego tali animátus confidéntia,
ad te, Virgo Vírginum, Mater,
curro, ad te vénio,
coram te gemens peccátor assísto.
Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despícere;
sed áudi propítia et exáudi. Amen.

You can hear it read out slowly in Latin here.

And here is the English translation given in the Compendium:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Looking at the Latin

And here is a literal, word by word translation of the Latin:

Memoráre (Remember), o piíssima (O most loving) Virgo (Virgin) María (Mary),

non (not) esse (to be) audítum (heard) a sæculo (from ever),
quemquam (that) ad (to) tua (you) curréntem (running/hastening) præsídia (for help/protection/support),
tua (you) implorántem (imploring) auxília (help),
tua (you) peténtem (begging/asking for) suffrágia (support), esse (to be) derelíctum (abandoned/forsaken).

Ego (I) tali (such/such a kind) animátus (having courage/inspired/disposed/inspired) confidéntia (with confidence),
ad (to) te (you), Virgo (Virgin) Vírginum (of virgins), Mater (mother),
curro (I run), ad (to) te (you) vénio (I come),
coram (before/in the presence) te (you) gemens (sighing/groaning) peccátor (sinner) assísto (I stand).
Noli (do not), Mater (Mother) Verbi (of the Word), verba (words) mea (my) despícere (look away from/negelct/overlook); sed (but) áudi (hear) propítia (favourable/gracious) et (and) exáudi (hear/give heed to). Amen.

And here is a lovely version of this prayer sung using Cistercian chant.


David Birch said...

Hello Kate, you may be interested in the fuller version of the Memorare, which embeds the more familiar prayer into it. Regards, David

Ave, augustissima Regina pacis, sanctissima Mater Dei, per sacratissimum Cor Iesu Filii tui Principis pacis, fac ut quiescat ira ipsius et regnet super nos in pace. Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

Joseph said...

Would you have the longer version in English?

limapie said...

from limapie

"Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria" is the title of the long version of this prayer. Do you have a link to an English translation of the whole prayer?