The consecrated Virgins of the Order of St. Bridget:

The consecrated Virgins of the Order of St. Bridget:

The consecrated Virgins of the Order of St. Bridget were wont to offer a lovely and sublime token of devotion to the Blessed Virgin by interpolating the venerable text of the Canticle of the Three Children Benedicite―found in Office of Sunday and Festal Lauds and taken from the Prophecy of Daniel (cap. iii. 57-88, 56)―with the words Pro honóre et glória digníssimæ creatúræ Vírginis Maríæ, Matris Dei,“For the honor and glory of the most worthy creature, Mary the Virgin Mother of God.” In doing so, they adapted the Canticle’s invitation of praise addressed to all creation so that the object of this universal laud is the ineffable and unfathomable loving-kindness and charity wherewith the Lord God Almighty predestined the Blessed Mary to be the ever-Virgin Mother of the Word Incarnate, and consequentially elected her to a plenitude of glory and grace superior to that of all other created or creatable persons, whether Angelic or human. Such should also be our prayer: suffused in a spirit of pious gratitude and reverent dread whilst contemplating the unspeakable and unparalleled excellencies that the Lord has been pleased to work in the Blessed Virgin Mary; at the same time, petitioning Almighty God―Who surpasses the merits and desires of His suppliants (Collect, Sunday XI after Pentecost, Roman Missal)―to lavish upon us the graces necessary for the cultivation of the interior life through the patronage and tutelage of she whom He has constituted as Mediatress of All Graces, and offering reparation for any offense wherewith we may have injured the august majesty of our sweet Mother and Queen.

According to the rubrics of the Bridgettine Breviary, the Benedicamus Dominobeing sung at Vespers on the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the following versicle is recited by the main chantress,

  V. Ave María, grátia plena, Dóminus tecum.

The Choir responds,

  R. Benedícta tu in muliéribus, et benedíctus fructus ventris tui Jesus Christus.

Then the Chantresses begin the Canticle of the Three Children,

  All works of the Lord bless ye the Lord: * praise and superexalt Him forever.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Bless the Lord ye Angels of the Lord: * ye heavens bless the Lord

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

All waters that are above the heavens, bless ye the Lord: * bless the Lord all ye powers of the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Sun and moon bless ye the Lord: * stars of heavens bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Every shower and dew bless ye the Lord: * all spirits of God bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Fire and heat bless ye the Lord: * cold and heat bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Dews and hoarfrost bless ye the Lord: * frost and cold bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Ice and snow bless ye the Lord: * nights and days bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Light and darkness bless ye the Lord: * lightnings and clouds bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Let the earth bless the Lord: * praise and superexalt Him forever.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Mountains and little hills bless ye the Lord: * all things that spring in the earth bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Bless the Lord ye fountains: * seas and rivers bless the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Whales and all things that move in the waters bless ye the Lord: * bless the Lord all ye fowls of heaven.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

All beasts and cattle bless ye the Lord: * sons of men bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Let Israel bless the Lord: * praise and superexalt Him forever.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Priests of the Lord bless ye the Lord: * servants of the Lord bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Spirits and souls of the just bless ye the Lord: * holy and humble of heart bless ye the Lord.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: * praise and superexalt Him forever.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Let us bless the Father and the Son together with the Holy Ghost: * let us praise and superexalt Him forever.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Blessed art Thou, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven: * and laudable and glorious and superexalted forever.

For the honour and glory of the worthiest creature, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

And thou, blessed above all creatures, deign to commend us and our place unto Thy Son, O Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

Then the following antiphon and Collects are said,

  Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ, forever.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, Who didst deign for us to be born of the most chaste Virgin: make us, we pray, to serve Thee with a chaste body, and please Thee with an humble mind.
We also pray thee, O most loving Virgin Mary, Queen of the world and of the Angels, that thou mayest procure refreshment for them whom the fires of Purgatory try, for sinners indulgence, for the just perseverance in good, and that thou also mayest defend us [who are] fragile from present perils. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
R. Amen.

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