Last night at our fraternity meeting we read two prayers by St. Francis: The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Salutation of the Virtues.
We had a lively discussion trying to figure out some of the parts of these prayers, and what precisely St. Francis meant in some passages.
Why did he end a prayer to Mary with a salute to the virtues?
Why did he pair the virtues that he did: Wisdom and Simplicity, Poverty and Humility, Charity and Obedience?
One observation I made is that he was a poet, not a theologian, so "reason" is not always the best approach to what he wrote.
But I did wonder what he meant by "carnal fear"?
Fear of temptations of the flesh? Fear for one's physical life that keeps one from fully committing to the adventure and danger of faith?
Still mulling that over.
The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Hail, O Lady, Holy Queen,
Mary, holy Mother of God:
you are the Virgin made Church
chosen by the most Holy Father in heaven
whom He consecrated with His most holy beloved Son
and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
in whom there was and is all fullness of grace and every good.
Hail His Palace!
Hail His Tabernacle!
Hail His Dwelling!
Hail His Robe!
Hail His Servant!
Hail His Mother!
And hail all you holy virtues
Which are poured into the hearts of the faithful
through the grace and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,
that from being unbelievers,
you may make them faithful to God.
The Salutation of the Virtues
Hail, Queen Wisdom, may the Lord protect you
with your sister, holy pure Simplicity.
Lady, holy Poverty, may the Lord protect you
with your sister, holy Humility.
Lady, holy Charity, may the Lord protect you
with your sister, holy Obedience.
O most holy Virtues, may the Lord protect all of you,
from Whom you come and proceed.
There is surely no one in the entire world
who can possess any one of you
unless he dies first.
Whoever possesses one of you
and does not offend the others,
And each one destroys vices and sins.
Holy Wisdom destroys
Satan and all his subtlety.
Pure holy Simplicity destroys
all the wisdom of this world
and the wisdom of the body.
Holy Poverty destroys
the desire of riches
and the cares of this world.
Holy Humility destroys
and all the people who are in the world
and all the things that belong to the world.
Holy Charity destroys
every temptation of the devil and of the flesh
and every carnal fear.
Holy Obedience destroys
every wish of the body and of the flesh
and binds its mortified body
to obedience of the Spirit
and to obedience of one's brother
and the person who possesses her is subject and submissive
to all persons in the world
and not to man only
but even to all beasts and wild animals
so that they may do whatever they want with him
inasmuch as it has been given to them from above by the Lord.
Pax et bonum