In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary….With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.” -Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

When I first entered the Monastery, at each Investiture Ceremony, it was our custom to chant the Ave Maris Stella.  Just recently the significance of this hymn choice struck me.  How appropriate to call out to Mary, the Star of the Sea, as a Sister begins her voyage upon the great Sea of the Religious Life. 

Here is the Allen Simon translation of the Latin text:

Hail, star of the sea,
loving Mother of God,
and also always a virgin,
Happy gate of heaven.

Receiving that Ave
from Gabriel’s mouth
confirm us in peace,
Reversing Eva’s name.

Break the chains of sinners,
Bring light to the blind,
Drive away our evils,
Ask for all good.

Show yourself to be a mother,
May he accept prayers through you,
he who, born for us,
Chose to be yours.

O unique virgin,
Meek above all,
Make us, absolved from sin,
Gentle and chaste.

Keep life pure,
Make the journey safe,
So that, seeing Jesus,
We may always rejoice together.

Let there be praise to God the Father,
Glory to Christ in the highest,
To the Holy Spirit,
One honor to all three. Amen.

Our Lady truly is a guiding star, a star of hope, a bright light that leads us safely to Port…that leads us to Jesus!  I came across this excerpt from Spe Salvi and found it so consoling!  And so true!  In this month of Mary, this month of May – let us keep these words close to our hearts – especially on the dark and stormy seas of life:

With the hymn composed in the 8th or 9th century, thus for over a thousand years, the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as ‘Star of the Sea’: Ave Maris Stella.  Human life is a journey Towards what destination?  How do we find the way?  Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route.  The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives.  They are lights of hope.  Certainly, Jesus Christ is the True Light, the Sun that has risen above all the shadows of history.  But to reach Him we also need lights close by – people who shine with His light and so guide us along our way.  Who more than Mary could be a Star of Hope for us?  With her ‘yes’ she opened the door of our world to God Himself;  she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched His tent among us.”

– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, Nov. 30, 2007