8 January 2024

Our Lady of Oxford (2)

I wonder who composed this Prayer; does it date from 1869 when Hartwell de la Garde Grissell promoted the cultus of our Lady of Oxford, from his lofty residence at the bottom of the High?

"O Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we venerate in this thy Sanctuary under the sweet title of Mother of Mercy: thou who wast of old so loved and honoured in this University and City, look with mercy on those who are now without the fold of thy Son, and obtain for them by thy powerful intercession the gift of faith.

"O Mother Immaculate, make this place the special object of thy solicitude and care. Thou who art the Mother of the Eternal Wisdom, and the seat of Wisdom, who didst bear in thy blessed arms the Source of all Knowledge, ask, we pray thee, the grace of faith for those who come here to seek it, that they may be brought to bow their intellect before that one Truth, which was foretold of old by the Prophets, and preached by the holy Apostles.

"Obtain also for the Catholics of this land, that their light may so shine before men, that their separated brethren, seeing their good works, may glorify God, and be brought to the one Fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord."

I wonder how you judge that. Moi, I'm not sure it quite reaches the heights of a Beta Minus. It reminds me of the fussy, cluttered Victorian Front Room which my maternal grandmother Kept For Best ... and not least, of the great glass dome there which protected a colourful exuberance of fruit (all made of wax). I think I am probably a bit of an Art Deco man. 

This Prayer also reminds me of the ethos of that earnest Prayer for the Conversion of England which (I think) Merry del Val composed. 

But ... good heavens ... short decades after the Definition of 1854, such a Prayer as this does, surely, deftly allude to an unraveller who did sway our spirits to peace ... who, from this grey beauty, did fire France and England for Mary without spot. 

And 'Wisdom', reiterated, can be taken as a reference to the University motto:

SAPIENTIA FELICITAS. 

Because those two words, a not rivalled insight, are what was written in the book on the University's Shield of Arms, before, in the decades after the "Reformation", they mysteriously mutated into Dominus Illuminatio Mea.

1 comment:

√Čamonn said...

At least the newer motto is drawn from the Psalter. OUP books now have an emblem that has been described as a rip-off of President Obama's election logo, the opening graphic sequence of a James Bond film or even a flushing toilet. Or as one commentator put it, deftly but aptly mixing the pithy and the obscene, "Oxford University Press has rebranded and it's sh*te".