tfpThis is one of my favourite hymns. Alright, I probably say that a lot, but I mean it. The words are from an Irish protestant minister called F. W. Wetherell, who I wrote about here. The tune is from the amazing Johann Sebastian Bach, another protestant. So this hymn sort of laid low in the times when Catholic hymnbooks only carried Catholic authors and composers. And it was too Marian for most Protestant hymnbooks too, so it sort of slid through the cracks.

The current liturgical calendar places the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the Saturday following the Sacred Heart of Jesus – or last Saturday. The 1962 calendar places it on the 22nd August. Whichever way you go, any day is a good day to pray to Mary, our Mother in heaven.

Mary immaculate, star of the morning,
Chosen before the creation began,
Chosen to bring for thy bridal adorning,
Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.

2 Here in an orbit of shadow and sadness
Veiling thy splendour, thy course thou hast run;
Now thou art throned in all glory and gladness,
Crowned by the hand of thy Saviour and Son.

3 Sinners, we worship thy sinless perfection;
Fallen and weak, for thy pity we plead;
Grant us the shield of thy sovereign protection,
Measure thine aid by the depth of our need.

4 Frail is our nature and strict our probation,
Watchful the foe that would lure us to wrong;
Succour our souls in the hour of temptation,
Mary immaculate, tender and strong.

5 See how the wiles of the serpent assail us,
See how we waver and flinch in the fight;
Let thine immaculate merit avail us,
Make of our weakness a proof of thy might.

6 Bend from thy throne at the voice of our crying,
Bend to this earth which thy footsteps have trod;
Stretch out thy hand to us living and dying,
Mary immaculate, Mother of God.

F. W. Wetherell, 1829–1903

And here is the recording from my favourite CD: