When my daughter Virginia was about a year old, I twice received calls that she was unconscious and being rushed to the hospital. (I hope you fathers out there never receive such a call.) Thanks be to God, on both occasions, by the time I arrived at the emergency room, she was awake and fine.
The second time she was knocked out, however, the doctors understandably wanted to do a CT scan to ensure that she didn’t have any lingering internal head injury. The problem is keeping a one-year old still during the procedure. The nurses suggested sedating her, but instead I asked if I could just sing to her.
So, I started gently singing various Marian antiphons, from the Ave Maria to the Alma Redemptoris Mater and Regina Caeli. These chants calmed her so that she was perfectly still and relaxed during the medical procedure.
I mention these chants here, because now that it’s Easter, the “Marian antiphon” of choice is the Regina Caeli (“Queen of Heaven”), which our family sings each evening after our Rosary. Here are the word for this beautiful chant:
|Simple tone (Mode VI):|
The English translation is:
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
has risen as he said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.
Marian antiphons like the Regina Caeli are not only part of our rich Catholic patrimony, but they can also become part of the daily rhythm of our own families’ lives. As the episode with Virginia shows, even on a natural level, these antiphons can be “holy lullabies,” gently leading our children to a deep, filial love for our Blessed Mother.