The humble plea, “Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary…” begins the pious and powerful Memorare prayer. While many of us have heard these words and the prayer in full, we may not be able to recite the Memorare or be familiar with the history and the spiritual fruits born by integrating this devotion into our lives.
In this article we'll cover:
- What is the Memorare Prayer and How is it Prayed
- History of the Memorare Prayer
- The Memorare Chaplet
- Popular Saints Who have Prayed this Prayer
- Final Thoughts
What is the Memorare Prayer and How is it Prayed?
For each of us looking to deepen our relationship with Our Lord, understanding the meek request made to our Blessed Mother for her aid and intercession through the Memorare, and implementing its recitation into our daily lives opens the door to obtaining many graces. As St. Maximilian Kolbe reminds us, “our dependence on Mary is greater than we can imagine.”
The Memorare prayer is as follows:
(English) 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.
(Spanish) Acordaos, oh piadosísima Virgen María!, que jamás se ha oído decirque ninguno de los que han acudido a vuestra protección, implorando tu auxilio, haya sido desamparado.
Animado por esta confianza,a Vos acudo, Madre, Virgen de la vírgenes,
y gimiendo bajo el peso de mis pecados me atrevo a comparecer ante Vos.
Madre de Dios, no desechéis mis súplicas, antes bien, escuchadlas y acogedlas benignamente.
(Latin) Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum.
Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi.
Different Sections of the Memorare Prayer
Let's breakdown the different parts of this beautiful prayer.
At its core, the Memorare is a simple plea for Mary’s intercession in our lives, but the 78 words that compose the Memorare in English contain many powerful and crucial components of prayer. The opening line, “never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided”, graciously and appropriately venerates Mary by acknowledging her perpetual intercessory role in God’s graces.
This acknowledgement is also an act of Adoration of God - another critical part of every personal prayer. How can one not be in a state of awe when speaking to the woman whom God chose to bear the Word Incarnate and when considering she has never denied her intercession to anyone who has made a rightly ordered request?
The Memorare also touches on confession in prayer. As much as we strive to live in God’s light and by His word, we all stumble and fall short of His Glory. We are in constant need of God’s abundant mercy for our sinfulness and the Memorare incorporates contrition into its Marian cry with the line “To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful”.
It is an admission that we are sinners and that we are grieved both by the sorrow of our sin and the sorrows in our lives that we intend to ask Mary’s assistance in consoling. These two components make the Memorare a fitting Marian prayer for both times of adoration of Our Lord and in contrite sorrow for our sins.
While the Memorare contains both adoration and contrition and can be recited while adoring the Lord in thanksgiving, or grieving in sorrow, it is primarily used as a prayer of supplication for specific intentions. The reciter is encouraged to make known their specific intention to Mary either before or after the prayer as it closes with the appeal “O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen”.
The Memorare is a compelling cry to our Blessed Mother for her help and can be said daily for the specific inventions weighing on our hearts. Due to its power and simplicity, the Memorare is often the prayer chosen for emergency prayer groups or large organized prayer campaigns where the prayers of many are needed to obtain a special favor according to God’s will.
History of the Memorare Prayer
The most well-known and efficacious recited prayers like the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary” have scriptural roots and are well known through the tradition of the Church, however the Memorare’s history is not quite as conspicuous.
The prayer receives its title the “Memorare” from the Latin word for “remember” which begins the prayer and is actually an excerpt of a longer Marian prayer, “Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria.”
The prayer is often incorrectly attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux as it was popularized by a priest with a similar namesake, Fr. Claude Bernard in the 17th century. Fr. Claude prayed the Memorare fervently and believed that his recitation of the prayer led to his miraculous healing. Attributing his recovery to the Memorare, Fr. Claude printed an estimated 200,000 copies of the prayer in multiple languages to popularize it across the European continent.
The Memorare’s popularity continued to grow, and it is known that St. Francis De Sales prayed it often. The modern saint, Mother Teresa, also attested to its power and taught those in most need to recite it.
The Memorare Chaplet
The Memorare Chaplet originates in the Philippines and is a Marian devotion with many similarities to the Rosary. The Memorare Chaplet uses a special rosary that has seven decades opposed to the Rosary’s five, with each decade containing eleven beads instead of ten. Instead of reciting a “Hail Mary” on each decade bead, a “Memorare” is prayed instead.
Unlike the Rosary which meditates on five specific mysteries of Our Lord’s life, the Memorare Chaplet uses each decade to implore the Blessed Virgin for her intercession for a specific prayer intention. The chaplet then ends with the same concluding prayers as the rosary, including the “Salve Regina”.
While it is not extremely well known, the Memorare Chaplet is an extraordinary way to familiarize oneself with the power of the Memorare and to plead humbly and graciously to Our Blessed Mother for her aid in bestowing Our Lord’s graces in the world and in the lives of those in most need of it.
The Memorare is an efficacious invocation of the Blessed Mother to intercede in our lives on behalf of Her Son. The prayer puts us in a place of adoration of Mary as the Mother of God and all the wonders of God’s creation and redemption of mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Likewise, the Memorare reminds us we are sinful and sorrowful and helps us to acknowledge that directly while speaking to Our Mother. Through adoration and humility, the Memorare is an extremely potent prayer of supplication that places our intentions at the feet of Mary to be answered.
The recitation of this plea keeps in the great tradition popularized by Fr. Claude Bernard and in line with the prayers of Saints Francis De Sales and Mother Teresa, putting us in great company while praying it, especially during a Memorare Chaplet. Inspired by the confidence instilled in us by the Blessed Mother’s reputation to never leave a soul unaided in times of need, let us learn to love and to pray the Memorare eagerly each day.