David Warren's essay on the ancient hymn:
It comes back to me in the memory of my flesh. My Down-syndrome child, listening with me; the sense of his presence in my arms and lap. One’s heart breaks sometimes, around such recollections: my child, Matthew, at age of two or three; so fragile and so perfect in his untutored love. So I played the music on my little machine, just as I had then: the Ave maris stella. It has plainsong at the top, and the verses fall out of it, exchanged between choirs in alternating rhythms as a mystical dance. I love the music but not so well the recording, whose forceful instrumentation makes the Christian hymn too courtly. I had remembered it as choirs, only; with solos less poised. But it is still sublime. We need to renew our appeal, to Our Lady, seen in the vision as star of the sea. For here we are in the chains of the guilty, in the darkness of the blind, weighed down, weighed under. Break chains, bring light, and purge us: O Mary, meek and chaste. Lead us to thy Son.