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In Praise of Mary

O most sacred Virgin Mary,
O Queen of Angels, how beautiful,
accomplished, and perfect, has Heaven made you!
O that I could appear to God as you appeared to me.
You are so beautiful and gracious
that with you beauty you ravished hearts.
When you are seen, everything appears deformed,
all beauty is eclipsed, every grace is lost sight of;
as the stars disappear at the rising of the sun.

When your tenderly devoted servant,
Saint John Damascene, contemplated you,
and when he saw that you were so beautiful,
it seemed to him that you had taken the flower
and that which was best in every creature,
and therefore he called you "the loveliness of nature,"
the grace and comeliness of every creature.