Dear Mother of Compassion, thou shouldst be
In all things like to Him: and whereas He
Took Human Flesh for suffering, and would be
By Nature habits taught; so, verily,
Through lessons such as these He strengthened thee.
In all things thou wert faultless - bodily
Without an imperfection that could be
An inlet to confusion. Gracefully
Did every nerve and fibre work, to be
The faithful organ of a Spirit free.
O Sacred Virgin, speed my praise of thee,
Who valiant wert by Nature: for in thee
Grace reigned supreme, and held in harmony
Each separate link where nothing weak could be,
And Nature wrought with Grace concordantly.
Yet wert thou human: and humanity
Is perfected by trial. Strength must be
Ever assayed, and by maturity
Must gather volume. Thus it was, for thee
To grow in strength and wisdom mightily.
And since a Mother only, perfectly
The Mother's work may understand; so she,
Who to the whole world would a Mother be,
Should know the sufferings of humanity -
Should feel of sin the weight and misery.
Thus, in those days of searching, spent by thee
With Joseph sorrowing, didst thou learn to be
Dark and benighted; learnedst tenderly
To suffer with the suffering; mightily
To lay up force to crush the Enemy.
And on thy spirit strengthened, painfully
Unfolded that which ne'er for thee could be
Aught but a vision. Mother, thou didst see
The punishment of Sin's malignity -
What loss of Light, of Joy, of God must be.
- text taken from Mary: The Perfect Woman, by Emily Mary Shapcote