Our Eastern brethren have been observing the Dormition Fast since the first of August. It continues until August 15th this year and concludes on the Feast of the Dormition, which Western Catholics celebrate as the Feast of the Assumption. In honor of this tradition, I will be sharing some of our Marian posts. This one is from October of last year...
Edward Caswall was another Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism in the mid 1800's. He also joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, like his friends Blessed John Henry Newman and Frederick William Farber. And, like them again, he was a prolific poet and hymnist.
Below is one of Caswall's fine poems included in his book of verse entitled The Masque of Mary. This particular poem really resonates with me.
As a convert to Catholicism, I pretty much ignored Our Lady my whole life. Lately, I've been making it a point to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and pray the Rosary regularly with my family. Although I'm not always 100% successful in this effort, I can truthfully say that I've been coming around to recognizing the significance of The Blessed Virgin as both the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven.
Much like Caswall, though, I wish I would have come around sooner (but better late than never).
A Convert's Lament to Mary
Among the thoughts that in my heart
Awaken grief sincere,
Causing with sudden pang to start
The unexpected tear,
Is this, that in the days gone by,
Star of the wintry sea!
Blinded by darkest heresy,
I thought so light of thee.
O Mother of my Lord and God,
Whom none invoke in vain;
O Path of life, which all have trod,
Who now in glory reign!
Had I but learnt in earlier years
To seek thine aid above,
To offer thee my infant tears,
Thy loving glance to love,—
How many deeds of sin and shame
Which now my heart appal,
Scar'd at the sound of thy pure name,
Had not been done at all!
How many a desolated space
Of vainly wasted hours,
Had bloom'd beneath thy smile of grace,
With paradisal flowers!
Mother! receive thine erring child;
Look tenderly on me;
From thy dear bosom long beguil'd,
I now return to thee.
More of Edward Caswell's poems are here in The Masque of Mary, along with other of Caswell's works on the YIM Catholic Bookshelf.