I recently came across the following, one of three prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the new (2013) German-language official hymnal Gotteslob (“Praise of God”). Below is my translation of it. (The original German is given at the end of this post for reference.)
My first thought was: how typically postconciliar, progressive, German Catholic!
Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, mind you. But it reads like the typical work of a committee in the early 21st century, with its bending over backward to emphasize, rightly, in my view, the utter dependence of Mary upon the saving grace of God. Ecumenical sensitivities are clearly uppermost. Not only is the text biblical in spirit; it is written as if to go as far as possible in meeting the objections of Protestants to historic Catholic Marian piety.
Read it and see what you think:
O blessed Virgin and Mother of God,
how very little and lowly
were you esteemed,
and yet God looked upon you
with abundant graces and riches
and has done great things for you.
Indeed, you were not at all worthy of this.
But high and wide, above and beyond your merit,
is the rich, overflowing grace of God in you.
How good, how blessed are you
for all eternity, from the moment
you found such a God!
I had to find out where this prayer came from, to see if my intuitions were correct.
Martin Luther, 1521 – four years after the 95 Theses.
O du selige Jungfrau und Mutter Gottes,
wie bist du so gar nichts
und gering geachtet gewesen,
und Gott hat dich dennoch so überaus gnädig
und reichlich angesehen
und große Dinge an dir gewirkt.
Du bist ja deren keines wert gewesen.
Und weit und hoch über all dein Verdienst hinaus
ist die reiche, überschwängliche
Gnade Gottes in dir.
O wohl dir, selig bist du
von der Stund an bis in Ewigkeit,
die du einen solchen Gott gefunden hast!