In these days which lead up to the glorious feast of Our Lady’s Assumption, it is good for us to reflect upon some of the invocations found in the tradition of the Church and particularly in the Litany of Loreto. The past couple days I have been meditating on the invocation “Virgo Potens”, often translated as “Virgin most powerful”.
One of the first things that struck me is the juxtaposition of two words that so many of our contemporaries would probably find incongruous. Virginity is often identified with weakness and lack of gusto. The strong woman, so people say, is one who fearlessly offers what she has, affirming her independence, and scorning the consequences. The virgin is portrayed as a girl who has not yet found the courage to be done with her childhood or has not yet succeeded in attracting a man.
The title “Virgo Potens” defies such a corrupt mentality which could not be further from the truth. In reality, it is virginity that is the mark of the strong woman. Not just any virginity. Certainly not that of the woman who simply has “no luck”, nor even that of those who are just afraid to lose it. The strong virgin is one who holds in high esteem the treasure of her physical integrity, and who, according to God’s plan, holds it in reserve either for her future husband, to whom she will offer it as her most beautiful wedding gift, or to the eternal Bridegroom, should He call her to consecrate her virginity forever to Christ in religious life.
“Virgo Potens” gives us to understand that, in the midst of the battle for purity, lies a soul that draws from the Almighty Himself the strength to be victorious over both the enticements of the flesh and the seduction of worldly and corrupt men whose ambition — worthy of a boar — is no higher than that of using women for their own satisfaction, and then abandoning them to their fate.
“Virgo Potens” clearly inspires us with the wholesome thought that only the person, man or woman, who is capable of resisting the sometimes impetuous desires of the flesh that is truly strong, that is truly in command of their life. The others let themselves be blown around with every dark wind, and as they do, they feel not only their minds and hearts, but their bodies themselves weaken and lose stamina. The chaste generation alone finds its strength renewed from day to day, and goes from combat to combat, winning victory after victory, and can thus rest at peace in the secure citadel of a pure heart.
“Virgo Potens”, the Mother of Fair Love, Virgin most prudent, come to our aid, and give to us an insatiable love for Christ Thy Son. Give to all those who have consecrated their virginity to Christ to be ever strong in their resolve, and to find in His love the source of authentic love for all. Give to those who have fallen the hope of rising again, of reconquering their lost purity, and deserving through penance a share in the crown of the chaste.