The Gate of Heaven, the Loveliness of Paradise

Adam of Perseigne, the author of this magnificent prayer to the Blessed Virgin, was ordained a priest and served as chaplain to the Countess of Champagne before passing through several vocations in succession. He was a Canon Regular, then a Benedictine of Marmoutier, and finally a Cistercian of Pontigny. Visiting Rome, he conferred with the famous mystic, Joachim of Flora. Sometime in the 1180s he became abbot of Perseigne in Normandy. Adam of Perseigne is known for his treatment of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces. He died about 1221. Adam’s prayer has a certain lyrical, litanic quality that reminds me of the Akathist to the Holy Mother of God.
The image of the Virgin Mother and Infant Christ surrounded by flowers is from the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz in Austria.

How happy is she
who is both mother and spouse ofGod,
the gate of heaven,
the loveliness of paradise,
lady of the angels,
queen of the universe,
joy of the saints,
advocate of believers,
courage of those who fight,
recaller of those who wander,
medicine of the penitent.
O sure salvation!
Short path of life!
Sole hope of pardon,
sweetness unique.
You, my Lady,
are my all.
In your hands
has been stored for me
the fulness of all good.
With you
have been hidden the unfailing treasures
of truth and grace,
of peace and pity,
of salvation and wisdom,
of glory and honour.
You are my anchor amid the billows,
my port in shipwreck,
my support in tribulation,
my comfort in grief.
For those who are yours
you are
aid in oppression,
help in time of crisis,
temperance in prosperity,
joy in time of waiting,
refreshment in toil.
Whatsoever I can stammer
in your praise
is less
than your praise
for you are worthy of all praise.
Adam of Perseigne
Letter Three, 25