Blessed Herman the Cripple – author of one of the most heartbreakenly beautiful prayers of all time – Discerning Hearts

Everytime we pray the rosary, we pray with Blessed Herman the Cripple.  He’s the author of one of the most heartbreakenly beautiful prayers of all time….the Salve Regina.

Blessed Herman (1013-1054) was born with many medical problems: cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. During his lifetime he was known as Blessed Herman the Cripple. Father Robert F. McNamara on his website, Saints Alive, calls him Blessed Herman the Disabled.

He was a remarkable man. Despite his daunting physical limitations he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He also built musical and astronomical equipment. He was considered a genius in his time. He wrote prayers and hymns – the most notable being the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).

Father McNamara in his article on Blessed Herman the Disabled comments on the great meaning of Herman’s life with this closing insight:

“In his own day, the heroic cripple who achieved learning and holiness was called ‘The Wonder of His Age’.

In our day, many voices say that people with disabilities should be phased out of existence. Which were the Dark Ages, then or now!”

Let us pray with Blessed Herman, and ask him to help us to receive the graces for the virtues we lack…humility, patience, kindness,  and all the others which allow the love of Christ to shine in the world through us.

Prayers        

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The Hail Holy Queen (The Salve Regina)

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs; mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O Clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O Holy Mother of God…That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.  Amen. – Blessed Herman

The poem below is from Father Benedict J Groeschel’s book,
Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones.

Herman The Cripple
by
William Hart Hurlbut, M.D.

I am least among the low,
I am weak and I am slow;
I can neither walk nor stand,
Nor hold a spoon in my own hand.

Like a body bound in chain,
I am on a rack of pain,
But He is God who made me so,
that His mercy I should know.

Brothers do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
All my sorrows he will bless;
Pain is not unhappiness.

From my window I look down
To the streets of yonder town,
Where the people come and go,
Reap the harvest that they sow.

Like a field of wheat and tares,
Some are lost in worldly cares;
There are hearts as black as coal,
There are cripples of the soul.

Brothers do not weep for me!
In his mercy I am free.
I can neither sow nor spin,
Yet, I am fed and clothed in Him.

I have been the donkey’s tail,
Slower than a slug or snail;
You my brothers have been kind,
Never let me lag behind.

I have been most rich in friends,
You have been my feet and hands;
All the good that I could do,
I have done because of you.

Oh my brothers, can’t you see?
You have been as Christ for me.
And in my need I know I, too,
Have become as Christ for you!

I have lived for forty years
In this wilderness of tears;
But these trials can’t compare
With the glory we will share.

I have had a voice to sing,
To rejoice in everything;
Now Love’s sweet eternal song
Breaks the darkness with the dawn.

Brother’s do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
Oh my friends, remember this:
Pain is not unhappiness.

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