In the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England (1662) the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the scheme of Redemption is commemorated in the Collect and Preface of Christmas. There are Propers for the feasts of the Annunciation and the Purification (Presentation) but not for the Conception, Nativity and Visitation, though these commemorations are in the Calendar.
Her place in the private manuals of prayer is relatively small. There was a fear, born of the Protestant Reformation, that extravagant honour given to the Blessed Virgin might detract from her Son. There was, moreover, doubt over whether it was possible – or permissible – to address any in prayer but God himself. Thus the small but rich vein of prayer from the 16th-18th centuries praises God for Mary, for her life and exaltation, but does not address her directly. The poetry of the period is addressed to Mary – whether the authors intended it as prayer is another matter.
For Catholics the matter is settled: the Church decided that Mary and the saints could be invoked and their prayer sought, within the Communion of earth and heaven. This is done without detriment to the worship due to God alone, or to the place of Jesus Christ as sole Mediator before the Father. Yet there will be those who find these restrained devotions from Anglicanism conducive to prayer, and others who might find themselves easily adding, ‘Pray for us’, in this short and beautiful litany.
O Lord, I praise and magnify thy Name
For the Most Holy Virgin-Mother of our God
Who is the highest of the Saints
The Most Glorious of all Thy Creatures
The Most Perfect of all thy works,
The Nearest unto Thee, in the Throne of God.
Whom Thou didst please to make
Daughter of the Eternal Father –
Mother of the Eternal Son –
Spouse of the Eternal Spirit –
Tabernacle of the Most Glorious Trinity –
Mother of JESUS –
Mother of the Messias –
Mother of Him who was the Desire of all Nations –
Mother of the Prince of Peace –
Mother of the King of Heaven –
Mother of our Creator –
Mother and Virgin –
Mirror of Humility and Obedience –
Mirror of Wisdom and Devotion –
Mirror of Modesty and Chastity –
Mirror of Sweetness and Resignation –
Mirror of Sanctity –
Mirror of all Virtues.
Thomas Traherne (1637-74)
Source: 15 Devotions of Our Lady from Anglican Writers of the 17th century. Edited by the John Barnes SSPP 1973