January 23: Saint Ildephonsus of Toledo
Marian Prayer of Saint Ildephonsus
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer:
through the Holy Spirit
you became the Mother of Jesus;
from the Holy Spirit may I too have Jesus.
Through the Holy Spirit your flesh conceived Jesus;
through the same Spirit may my soul receive Jesus.
Through the Holy Spirit you were able to know Jesus,
to possess Jesus,
and to bring him into the world.
Through the Holy Spirit may I too come to know your Jesus.
Imbued with the Spirit,
Mary, you could say:
“I am the handmaid of the Lord,
be it done unto me according to your word”;
in the Holy Spirit,
lowly as I am,
let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus.
In the Spirit you now adore Jesus as Lord
and look on Him as Son;
in the same spirit,
Mary, let me love your Jesus.
ARCHBISHOP OF TOLEDO, DOCTOR OF THE SPANISH CHURC
St. Ildephonsus is highly regarded in Spain and closely associated with devotion to the Blessed Virgin which he fostered by his famous work concerning her perpetual virginity. Born around 607, Ildephonsus came from a noble family and was probably a pupil of St. Isidore of Seville. While still quite young, he entered the Benedictine monastery of Agalia near Toledo and went on to become its Abbot. In that capacity he attended the Councils of Toledo in 653 and 655.
In 657 the clergy and people elected this holy man to succeed his uncle, St. Eugenius, as Archbishop of Toledo. He performed his episcopal duties with diligence and sanctity until his death in 667. This saint was a favorite subject for medieval artists, especially in connection with the legend of Our Lady’s appearance to present him with a chalice. St. Ildephonsus was a prolific writer, but unfortunately only four of his works have survived. Among these are the one already mentioned and an important document of the history of the Spanish Church during the first two-thirds of the seventh century, entitled Concerning Famous Men.