Privileges at Our Lady's Altar
Fr. Scott A. Haynes
THE STORY OF AN UNUSAL PENANCE
In holy obedience, the novice prays at the Altar of Our Lady awaiting her answer.
A supernatural occurrence took occurred in the Franciscan Monastery of Alenquer, which was located in Portugal, in the year 1224. There was a novice with a pure heart who was guilty of committing a little fault in the observance of the religious rule of the community, and as part of his penance, the Master of Novices instructed him not to go from the Altar in the Lady Chapel in the Chapter Hall until she had revealed to him the prayer that she enjoyed the most.
The Novice Master imposed an unusual punishment. Why? Perhaps he was inspired by some exceptional grace, in which case he was anticipating some extraordinary fact, or he sought to test the novice's obedience and humility to see how he would fare.
The novice did not give up and spent the entire day kneeling in prayer in front of Mary's Altar. As the night progressed, he addressed Our Lady with words that came from the depths of his heart and were filled with great affection. He said:
"O Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Pity, I humbly beg Thee to manifest to this Thy servant what the Master commanded me by obedience to ask of Thee. Blessed Mother, I will not leave from this place without an answer."
O amazing marvel! Behold the Queen of the Angels, who, bending forward from the altar where she stood and responding, Behold the Queen of the Angels!
Speaking to the novice, the Virgin Mother Mary said:
"Go, beloved son, and tell your Master that the hymn O Gloriosa Domina that the Church sings to me is, amongst all the prayers, the one that most pleases me. And to prove that what I say you is true, this, my Infant, who until now I held in my right arm, I now pass to my left arm. For this reason, you may go with confidence and give my response, for when all will see such an extraordinary marvel, they will believe what you say. So go, and invite the Master and the other religious to come visit me."