Friday, September 7, 2007

The Mariensäule

Today the Holy Father visited the column in Vienna dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It bears the following inscription:

To God, infinite in goodness and power, King of heaven and earth, by whom kings reign; to the Virgin Mother of God, conceived without sin, by whom princes command, whom Austria, devoutly loving, holds as her Queen and Patron; Ferdinand III, Emperor, confides, gives, consecrates himself, children, people, armies, provinces, and all that is his,and erects in accomplishment of a vow this statue, as a perpetual memorial.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke the following beautiful words:

The Mariensäule, built by the Emperor Ferdinand III in thanksgiving for the liberation of Vienna from great danger and inaugurated by him exactly 360 years ago, must also be a sign of hope for us today. How many persons, over the years, have stood before this column and lifted their gaze to Mary in prayer! How many have experienced in times of trouble the power of her intercession! Our Christian hope includes much more than the mere fulfilment of our wishes and desires, great or small. We turn our gaze to Mary, because she points out to us the great hope to which we have been called (cf. Eph 1:18), because she personifies our true humanity!



Anonymous said...

Wasn't that 'liberation' from conquest by Moslems? We surely need Her intercession during these times.

elena maria vidal said...

Ferdinand III's great achievement was the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 which finally brought an end to the horrors of the Thirty Years War. Yes, the Empire was delivered from being taken over by the Moslems on several occasions, the most famous being on Sept 12, 1683 during the reign of Ferdinand's son, Emperor Leopold I.

Vara said...

Not only did the Hapsburgs hold back the Islamic hordes, they struck back! There is a soldier's song in German, "Prinz Eugen der edler Ritter" ("Prince Eugene the Noble Knight") which tells of the Hapsburg victory over the Ottoman oppressor at Belgrade. I heard it at a "Zapfenstreich" (evening retreat ceremony) whilst I was on active service in Europe some thirty years ago, and I have never forgotten the tune since! Something to sing with vigour today, wot?

Sometimes, there are GOOD endings to bad beginnings! Or, in other words, God DOES deliver!