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The Final Words of the Salve Regina

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

The composition of the Salve Regina is traditionally attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the great doctor of the Church and one of the magnificent figures of the Middle Ages.

Bernard of Clairvaux
St. Bernard the composer of
the Salve Regina
According to one account in the Chronicles of Speyer, while the saint was acting as Apostolic legate in Germany, he entered the Cathedral of Speyer on Christmas Eve of 1146 chanting the anthem for the first time. As he sung the words "O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria," he genuflected thrice.

According to another narrative, however, the saint composed and sang the anthem earlier, but added the triple invocation at the end only when he was praying at that Cathedral and entered into ecstasy. During the ecstasy, Our Lady appeared to him and he exclaimed, "O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria!" In that church until today there is an inscribed bronze plate over the stone St. Bernard was kneeling on when he saw the Virgin and exclaimed those words.

The words of the Salve Regina were so fitting to Our Lady that the chant was incorporated into the general prayers and liturgy of all Christendom, with the approval of the Holy See.

“That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ”

Sometime later, probably an act of the Holy See added the verse and refrain: "Pray for us, o Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Our Lady of the Carmel, Santiago

Our Lady's mercy inspires us to come to her with our needs
What are the promises of Christ?

They are the promises He made to those who die in the state of grace: that they would gain Heaven. They are the promises of the Sermon of the Mount: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God (Matt 5:8).

The promises of Christ were not made for everyone, but rather for those who lead lives that make them worthy of the presence of God, a life without sin, a life in the state of grace.

In this way, the ending of the Salve Regina is harmoniously completed. Since you are so clement, so loving, so sweet, then pray for us, o Virgin Mary, “so that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

It is a final request for the best thing that one can have: Heaven.

Imagine a street where there are many beggars. A lady or a man with an extremely benevolent expression passes through it, looking at those beggars with great compassion. It is clear that this person is very rich. Would this not incite the beggars to ask for alms? So, they ask. They do not have riches, but that munificent person does, so they ask for what they need.

No one is richer than Our Lady, who has Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can and we should ask for what we need from Her.

Because of this, we do not follow the tendency of the progressivists who would like to abolish this final invocation of the Salve Regina.

Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

V./Ora pro nobis sancta Dei Genetrix.
R./ Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V./ Pray for us O holy Mother of God,
R./ that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted October 3, 2009
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