The VerbumQUO (feb25quo.htm)

February 25, 2006
vol 17, no. 43

Hail, Holy Queen

The Verbumquo for today is "Salve", the Latin word for "Hail" which every Catholic worth his salt realizes is the beginning of the Angelic Salutation to the Mother of God. The word comes direct from Heaven and encompasses a hail storm of blessings and the healing salve of grace.

Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: This is a new series the editor is launching in highlighting one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Septuagesima and Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    Throughout the Liturgical Year Holy Mother Church designates various Saturdays as "Our Lady's Saturday" in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, on this Saturday of Sexagesima Week, we honor Mary with the Mass known as Salve, sancta parens from the Sedelius for the Introit of the Mass.
Salve, sancta parens, enixa puerperal Regem: Qui Caelum, terramque regit in saecula saeculorum.
Hail, holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King Who rules Heaven and earth for ever and ever.

    The word hail is derived from the Middle English "hail" or "heil" and is a play on words for God hails us with grace through the Blessed Mother. The Latin for hail, being salve which comes from the Latin salvo - to send down a volley. From this we can see the word use in salvation, salute and salve, all provided by Heaven and found intrinsically through the Blessed Virgin Mary whose role in salvation and the angel's salute furnishes us with the salve to heal our wounded nature. In fact the spelling of the Latin salve and the English "salve" is interesting for Heaven provides that salve in grace and no one is more "full of grace" than our Lady as the Angel affirmed. Webster's defines it thus:

        Salvation - from the Latin salvare - "To save. The saving of man from the spiritual consequences of sin; especially, deliverance from sin and eternal damnation through the atonement of Christ; redemption."

    Yes, that is exactly what is in Webster's - "the atonement of Christ" and it was Mary's cooperation by the will of God that this was accomplished for just as Christ was the new Adam, so also Mary was the new Eve. No wonder such laudatory praise is reserved for this Immaculate creature above all other humans - salve, sancta parens.

    The noted Abbot Dom Gueranger captures the essence of this salve better than anyone else could. He writes in Volume 4 for Saturday in Sexigesima Week:

        "On the Saturday of the preceding week, which was devoted to the consideration of the fall our first parents both in its own malice and in its sad consequences upon us, we turned our thoughts towards our blessed Lady, who, though a daughter of Eve, was, by the special mercy of God, preserved from the stain of original sin. Let us end this week with a like act of veneration and love towards this Immaculate Queen of Heaven. We, even the most saintly among us, have not only been stained with original sin; we have our actual sins to grieve over and do penance for. This should give us a higher appreciation of her, the one single member of the human family who never committed the slightest sin. Let us turn towards her, and give expressions to our feelings.

        We, O Mary! have corrupted our way; we have disobeyed our Lord; we have broken His law; we have preferred our own selfish gratifications to the service we owed Him: but thou wast ever filled with His holy love, and there passed not even a shadow of sin upon thy soul, O spotless mirror of justice and holiness! Virgin most faithful! the grace of thy Son ever triumphed in thy heart. Mystical rose! the fragrance of thy virtues increasingly ascended to His throne, changing only in its daily increase of sweetness. Tower of ivory! fair beyond measure, without one spot to mar thy purity! House of gold! thou didst ever reflect the precious gifts of the Holy Ghost. Have pity, then, upon us, for we are sinners.

        We have obliged our God to repent that He made us: but in thee, dear Mother, He has ever been well pleased. Thou art the good land, wherein His divine seed yielded its thousandfold of fruit: pray for us, that He give fresh fertility to our hearts and root up from them the thorns, which choke the heavenly plant. We are defiled by sin: may we through the merits of the tears thou didst shed at the foot of the cross, mercifully cleanse us. If thy divine Son has already pardoned us, there the consequences of our sins, which still weaken and humble us, like the sores of wounds that have been cured: take us, sweet Mother of our Jesus, under the mantle of thy tender care. We have too little dread of sin; we are so often on the verge of offending our God; oh! and obtain for these poor children of thine courage and firmness of resolution, and ambition for holiness of life. Thy intercession must win for us that precious devotedness to God's honor, which kills self-love, which may lead us to hell, who are now perhaps in the grace of thy divine Son!

    In all of the Abbot's beautiful prose we can see both the salutation hailing Mary as "Holy Queen" -God's chosen vessel - our "Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope" and the salve of compassion, contemplation and condolence for to her do we "cry,poor banished children of eve." To Mary do we "send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears." We ask Mary, "most gracious advocate" to turn her "eyes of mercy toward us: and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus." Here we see the bookends of the Angelic salutation. The Archangel Gabriel began with "Hail Mary, full of grace" and ends with "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." So also on this Our Lady's Saturday we offer the salute of praise when we say Salve Regina - Hail, Holy Queen.

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

    February 25, 2006
    vol 17, no. 43