Next to Mass, the most powerful prayer is the rosary. For that reason and for the promises Our Lady made to St. Dominic, its been my all time favorite prayer. However, even I must admit that there are times when meditating on the rosary isn’t the perfect fit. For instance, when my 3 year old suffered a night of a relentless coughing fit. Nothing seemed to help: not the elevated pillow, humidifier with blessed salt, or cough syrup. We’d all had the virus the past week, so another sleepless night seemed inevitable and I just shuddered at the possibility of spending that night at the ER, waiting for a nurse to give her a steroid shot.
As I next to her, brushing her hair off from her forehead, I replayed the conversation with my cousin earlier that day about the emergency/911/stat novena, so named because it’s a quick call to heaven for help. The express novena is composed of nine memorares, which sounded perfect since at that point of desperation and exhaustion, even the Divine Mercy Chaplet seemed too long.
“Remember, O, Most Gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee O virgin of Virgins my mother, to thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate despise not my petition but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”
I hadn’t finished my 8th one before I realized it was so wonderfully quiet beside me and my little angel had at last fallen into restful sleep. After the ninth memorare, so did I.
The Memorare has been attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This wise Benedictine Marian saint has said in his book Homilies in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “In dangers, in hardships in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary. Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life and you will obtain the favor of her prayer. Following her, you will never go astray, Asking her help, you will never despair. Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away. With your hand in hers, you will never stumble. With her protecting you, you will not be afraid. With her leading you, you will never tire. Her kindness will see you through the end…”