|The name Memorare, meaning “remember,” is the first word in the Latin version of the prayer. There are various English translations of the prayer but the following one is the most common:|
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.”
As you can see, the prayer is one of confidence in the power of Mary’s intercession. It is only right to have complete trust in Our Lady. After all, she is the Mother, Daughter and Spouse of God, and God will answer her every request.
The one who says this prayer comes before Our Lady with humility admits that he is “sinful and sorrowful,” and, trusting in her mercy, begs her to grant him favors. It is a good idea when saying the Memorare to have a particular petition in mind.
It is believed that Saint Bernard of Clairvaux composed the Memorare. But we also know that Father Claude Bernard, a French priest, made this prayer famous in the seventeenth century. His devotion to the Virgin Mary under the title “Comforter of the Afflicted” moved him to promote the recourse to Mary’s intercession among the poor as well as prisoners facing execution.
Trusting his charges into the care and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Father Bernard used the Memorare extensively in his work of evangelization, with great effect.
Many a criminal was reconciled to God through his efforts. At one time he had more than 200,000 leaflets printed with the Memorare in various languages so he could distribute them wherever he felt they would do some good.
Part of the reason Father Claude Bernard held the Memorare in such high regard was that he thought he had been miraculously cured by saying it when he was gravely ill. After saying the prayer, he started to get well again. Feeling himself unworthy of such a miracle, he attributed his cure to natural causes. But then an Augustinian Brother told him that Our Lady had appeared to him and had told him that Father Bernard’s cure was due to her intercession. Farther Bernard then begged God’s forgiveness for his lack of faith and gratitude.
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