Ave Maria: I Never Heard It

Growing up Lutheran, I enjoyed a number of advantages and learned a lot of good lessons. My Lutheranism was the laid back kind, not the pulpit thumping version. But one disadvantage of this background was never hearing the song Ave Maria in my growing up years.

My city of Amery, heavily Protestant, had one Catholic church. Located on the other side of town from the Lutherans and Baptists, I knew Catholics and schooled with Catholics, but the advice from my earliest days–“Don’t marry a Catholic.”

This softened as time went on, I eventually married a Catholic from the Bloomer area, and we’ve gotten along well.

But, the song Ave Maria to me is one of the most beautiful and haunting songs I’ve ever listened to. Even the instrumental or foreign language version resonates with me, and it might not be so much the tribute to Mary as the tribute to motherhood. Looking at the painting at the top of this page, it could be Mother Mary and the baby Jesus, or it could be a loving mother with her recently born child.

I’ve said that partly in jest, but actually mean it when I say the disadvantage of growing up Lutheran is not hearing that wonderful hymn. In our church and among Lutherans, they praised and lauded Mary at Christmas, but during the rest of the year little was spoken about her. The belief as it was told to me at age 10 or after is that Mary is a wonderful human being but she isn’t a saint and isn’t going to intercede in answering prayers.

Ave Maria, maiden mild
Oh, listen to a maiden’s prayer
For thou canst hear amid the wild
‘Tis thou, ’tis thou canst save amid, despair

We slumber safely till the morrow
Though we’ve by man outcast reviled
Oh maiden, see a maiden’s sorrow
Oh mother, hear a suppliant child

Seeing these for the first time, I guess I wasn’t aware of the lyrics. Anyway, these are all my reflections, and for Protestants, we can look at Mary as an ideal mother even if we don’t think of her as being divine.

5 Replies to “Ave Maria: I Never Heard It”

  1. Carrie Wilhelm says: Reply

    Hello Loren,

    After reading your entry about Mary it reminded me of Michelangelo’s sculpture Pieta at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I have been fortunate enough to see it in person twice and it evokes such emotion of a grieving mother. Much like the picture you posted with your Ave Maria piece. I agree it is both a beautiful and haunting song.

    On another note, I have been enjoying your blog and look forward to reading your daily doses. I hope you are enduring the wicked cold and reading lots of good books. I have included a website on Michelangelo’s Pieta for you to view.

    Happy Writing,



    1. Thanks, Carrie, for the kind words and the link. I’m doing my 800 words now and will check the link after. Funny you should write now because I today was working on a story set in Amery, and the hermit/ moonshiner/ city worker finds a surprise at his door in the form of a lovely young land with a two year old girl. The lady’s name? Carrie. Not kidding, and I’m hoping it’s a good one. But I’ll email you more, love hearing from the classy lady from Houston, and I’ll check the link in a few minutes.

      1. 2nd note to Carrie: you know some days are a little discouraging because today I only got about 150 hits on the blog where some days it’s 200 or 300. And I shouldn’t let it bother me, but I’d like to see it increase steadily. Why am I telling you this? Because at that point you write a wonderful note and I’ve got to think that my writing is getting to someone, and as stated above, it’s a great feeling to know that you are enjoying it. mange takk which in Norwegian means many thanks

  2. Joanne Sorenson says: Reply

    The painting is called “Kissing the Face of God” by Morgan Weistling. I have always greatly admired Mary, even though I have never thought she was divine. I am imagining it was easier for worshipers in the middle ages to think of her when they saw portraits of her or statues of her. I am glad that the low-key Lutherans talk more about her now. Thanks for your thoughts:)

    1. Thank you Joanne, for the note and for the name of the painting. As I wrote, standing alone, the painting could be a wonderful picture of a loving mother and her child. I often write low-key Lutheran as opposed to some of the Luth. from earlier in the 1900s and also the Misssouri or Wisconsin Synod. You’d know a lot more about that difference and them than I would. We did have a Redeemers Lutheran in Amery, originally called German Lutheran (which I didn’t know until a couple years ago) and they were pretty strict, MO Synod I think. Warning, warning. Letter headed your way, and it’s not a bill. Thanks for your continued encouragement. Loren

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