Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue: A Prayer, A Poem
Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue
When I was four years old I was able to recite this poem my mother taught me:
Lovely Lady dressed in blue, teach me how to pray
God was just your little boy tell me what to say.
Did you lift him up sometimes, gently on your knee?
Did you sing to him the way mother does to me?
Did you hold his hand at night, and did you ever try
telling him stories of the world, oh, and did he cry?
Do you really think he cares of I tell him things?
Little things that happen and do the angels wings make a noise
Can he hear me if I speak low, does he understand me now
Tell me for you know.
Lovely lady dressed in blue teach me how to pray
God was just your little boy and you know the way.
(Written by Mary Dixon Thayer)
The wonder of a child at Mary, the Mother of God. This poem has followed me all through my life and continues to fill me with wonder and the questions it asks. It has been my favorite prayer throughout my life. This poem was made popular in the 1950s by Bishop Fulton Sheen though written in 1926 by Mary Dixon Thayer, and has been made into several songs.
Raphael's Madonna Foligno
Mary was a young girl when the angel told her, "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb." How scared and excited she must have been! Then of course there was Joseph. I know an angel visited him as well but he must have been really torn. Here's his virgin bride-to-be pregnant by no man but God. It had to be a little hard to swallow. But Joseph was a man and a gentleman and he accepted God's will and his beautiful Mary.
Their years together were peaceful for the most part. There was the time when Jesus was a boy, lost in the temple; he was off teaching while they were looking for him. That had to be really scary for both of them and when they found him he told them he was about his father's business. Another jolt to two holy but ordinary people.
Everyone knows the story of Jesus adult life and throughout it all, there was Mary right up until the end. Always by his side.
As Catholics we believe Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of our Savior Jesus Christ. But there is more to Mary than just some far off deity like mother. She was a real mother, the mother of Jesus.
Was she dressed in blue? I don't think there's any historical proof but throughout history artists have painted her in blue and statues have depicted her in blue. Bartolome Esteban Murillo among many others, painted Mary in blue as a very young girl in his "Childhood of the Virgin." In Antonella da Messina's painting, "The Annunciation", he too paints her in blue, as does Raphael in his paintings. Most statues we see of Mary show her wearing either a blue veil or a blue dress. She has always been the "Lovely Lady dressed in blue", depicted that way throughout history.
Teach Me How to Pray
"Teach me how to pray" Throughout history to the present day there have been recordings of Mary's apparitions. Not all are sanctioned by the Church but many are. In particular her visitation at Fatima in 1917. Here Mary told us to do penance and pray for the conversion of Russia. She told the children to pray the rosary daily. Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche and gave them fifteen promises for those who pray the rosary. She told Dominic to have priests kindle a love of the rosary.
The rosary is a meditation of the life of Christ and Mary has told us to pray the rosary, that is how she answers "teach me how to pray."
"Pray, little children, and open your heart to God’s love, but you cannot if you do not pray. Therefore, pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having responded to my call." One of Our Ladies messages at Medjugorje, September 25, 2004.
The rest of this lovely poem brings us closer to Mary by seeing her as a mother like any other, asking her questions a child would ask. We begin by asking her to tell us what to say to her son and then ask her questions about her relationship with her son. "Do you lift him up sometimes, gently on your knee? Do you sing to him the way mother does to me?" Questions a child might ask another child's mother. Do you treat him the way my mother treats me? You want to know if she holds his hand at night when he might be afraid...does she tell "him stories of the world" maybe Jack in the Beanstalk or Rapunzel? Stories your mother would tell you.
Oh, and asking about the angels wings! How normal for a child. Wouldn't a child want to know if angels' wings make a noise? After all, how would we know? It sure would be cool to find out. And if he knows all things, "can he hear me when I speak low?" So, if I whisper, can he understand me?
Asking Mary to teach us how to pray is something Catholics have been doing in their own way for ages. We have been asking Mary to lead us to Jesus. This little prayer just puts those questions into a child's perspective that knows she has the answers and shows hope she will give them to us. This prayer has carried me through my life and is a part of my devotion to Mary.
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