Advent Day 17 – The Burning Bush of the World (and Hanukkah Day 7)

st. augustine beach, florida

Advent Day 17 ~ Thursday of the third week of Advent –  (Hanukkah Day 7)

Advent themes are all about waiting for light to shine in our darkness.
For we who are Christians we await, Jesus, Yeshua, who is for us the Light of the World.
We prepare a place for him to shine in our own hearts this day.
We invite you to search out your own inner meaning whatever that might be.

On this the seventh day of Hanukkah we honor our Jewish brothers and sisters with these words
that appear in the Catholic liturgy just before Christmas, one of the magnificent O Antiphons:

O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel,

you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush

and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.

Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

And my prayer . . .

O Adonai*, we need you in our world more than ever!

You appeared in the burning bush long ago.

I remember this awesome sunrise over the ocean when I lived  some  years ago on St. Augustine Beach, Florida.

I’m reminded of the old sailor’s maxim:  “Red at night, a sailor’s delight; red in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Come with your refiner’s fire and burn your way into our hearts.

so we can prepare the way for the Messiah to come into our lives,

into our homes,

our workplace and marketplace,

our neighborhoods

and, most especially into our beloved country that so badly needs You right now,

and our waiting world!

Come Lord Jesus!

______

What are  the “O” Antiphons?”

If you’re interested in learning more about them, here’s a website that has information and recordings of all seven. Click here. (Skip the first half and scroll ALL the way down to the bottom for the O Antiphons themselves.  You will notice little speaker signs next to each one. If you click on those little music notes, it will play for you the actual chant melody for each O Antiphon.

But before you go, here’s O come, O come Emmanuel with the lyrics that are the seven O-Antiphons in English for your reflection.

And here are today’s Mass Readings. Click here.

* Adonai is one of the names the Jewish people use for God, meaning “Lord God Almighty.”

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 17 – The Burning Bush of the World

st. augustine beach, florida

Advent Day 17 ~ Monday of the third week of Advent

Advent themes are all about waiting for light to shine in our darkness.
For we who are Christians we await, Jesus, Yeshua, who is for us the Light of the World.
We prepare a place for him to shine in our own hearts this day.
We invite you to search out your own inner meaning whatever that might be.

During Hanukkah earlier this month we honored our Jewish brothers and sisters with these words
that appear in the Catholic liturgy just before Christmas, one of the magnificent O Antiphons:

O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel,

you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush

and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.

Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

And my prayer . . .

O Adonai*, we need you in our world more than ever!

You appeared in the burning bush long ago.

I remember this awesome sunrise over the ocean when I lived  some  years ago on St. Augustine Beach, Florida.

I’m reminded of the old sailor’s maxim:  “Red at night, a sailor’s delight; red in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Come with your refiner’s fire and burn your way into our hearts.

so we can prepare the way for the Messiah to come into our lives,

into our homes,

our workplace and marketplace,

our neighborhoods

and, most especially into our beloved country that so badly needs You right now,

and our waiting world!

Come Lord Jesus!

______

What are  the “O” Antiphons?”

They are one of the most cherished collections of our ancient liturgical chants called the seven “O Antiphons” that are sung each of the seven nights before Christmas at Evening Prayer. They have beautiful chant melodies.  I am using some of them interspersed this week before Christmas, like the one above.

If you’re interested in learning more about them, here’s a website that has information and  recordings of the chant melodies of all seven. (Skip the first half and scroll ALL the way down to the bottom for the O Antiphons themselves.  You will notice little speaker signs next to each one. If you click on those little music notes, it will play for you the actual chant melody for each O Antiphon.

But don’t miss this slide show of  O come, O come Emmanuel for your reflection.

And here are today’s Mass Readings. Click here.

* Adonai is one of the names the Jewish people use for God, meaning “Lord God Almighty.”

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 11 ~ Our God becomes flesh (and Hanukkah Day 2)

Wednesday of the Second week of Advent

Our God Becomes Flesh (and Hanukkah Day 2)

Dear Friends,

Today, let’s reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation — the Christmas portion of our faith.  (If you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have real meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation: Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh. “He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are” (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one of us and with us.  God likes the human race!  In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race.

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting – pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

“He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness) .

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

We need God to invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you,

embrace you, and heal your heart, and transform your life as it has mine.

And continues to do so, day after day after day

because I, for one, really, really, really like being caught up in Love!

And for your listening pleasure here’s a selection from Handel’s Messiah: “Rejoice, Greatly, O Daughter Zion!” Click here.  Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

And here are today’s Mass readings for the Feast of St. Lucy. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 12 The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – God prefers the poor (and Hanukkah Day1)

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12  (also Day 1 of Hanukkah)

Today,we honor our sister and brothers in Mexico
as they celebrate the appearance of the Mother of Jesus  to a poor peasant native Mexican.

Today, may we unite ourselves in solidarity with all the peoples of North and South and Central Americawho rejoice in this feast day;indeed may we unite ourselves in solidarity with  all the world’s poor.
Here is the charming story:

An elderly Indian man named Chuauhtlatoczin (“Juan Diego” in Spanish) had a vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus, at Tepeyac, a squalid Indian village outside of Mexico City, 469 years ago. Mary directed Juan Diego to tell the bishop to build the church in Tepeyac. The Spanish bishop, however, dismissed the Indian’s tale as mere superstition. He asked that he bring some sort of proof, if he wanted to be taken seriously. Three days later, the Virgin Mary appeared again and told Juan Diego to pick the exquisitely beautiful roses that had miraculously bloomed amidst December snows, and take them as a sign to the bishop. When the Indian opened his poncho to present the roses to the bishop, the flowers poured out from his poncho to reveal an image of the Virgin Mary painted on the inside of the poncho. That image hangs today in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City and is venerated by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.

Significantly, Mary appeared not as a white-skinned, blue-eyed, blond-haired European Madonna but as a dark-skinned, brown-eyed, black-haired “Tonantzin,” the revered Indian Mother, and she spoke to Juan Diego not in cultured Castillian but in his own Nahuatal language. She spoke in the language of the powerless, disenfranchised, and despised Indians. She was then and is today, “La Morenita” – the Brown One. Her message to the bishop was that God’s church should be built out on the fringes of society, amidst the poor and the downtrodden. The vision challenged the powerful conquerors, the Spaniards of Mexico City, to change their way of thinking and acting. It challenged them to move out from their position of power and influence to the periphery; to leave their magnificent cathedral and build God’s house in Tepeyac – among the poor and the despised, away from the center of power and culture and education and the arts.

Guadalupe is a “vision” story and, like all such stories, tells us something about God and something about ourselves. More precisely, it tells us how God wants to be among us. St. Juan Diego’s vision of where God wants to be or whom we should listen to should come as no surprise to us. Throughout history, God has consistently chosen to be with poor people. In that respect, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s message to St. Juan Diego at Guadalupe is a restatement of Jesus’ mission: That God is in those who are hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, naked, sick, stranger, and suffering. The challenge for us is to heed the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the message of Christ’s Gospel, and reach out to those who belong to the margins of our society.
Source: The Manila Bulletin online.

God of power and mercy,

you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac

with the presence of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe.

May her prayers help all men and women

to accept each other as brothers and sisters

Through your justice present in our hearts

may your peace reign in our world.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

. . . a prayer from today’s Mass

The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph

which was read and understood quickly by the Aztec Indians.        
1.    THE LADY STOOD IN FRONT OF THE SUN
She was greater than the dreaded Huitzilopochtli, their
sun-god of war.
2.    HER FOOT RESTED ON THE CRESCENT
MOON
She had clearly crushed Quetzalcoatl,
the feathered serpent moon-god.
3.   THE STARS STREWN ACROSS THE MANTLE
She was greater than the stars of heaven which they worshipped.
She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head.
She appeared on December 12, 1531 and the stars that she wore are the constellations of the stars that appeared in the sky that day!
4.   THE BLUE‑GREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE
She was a Queen because she wears the color of royalty.
5.   THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK
Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son who died
on the cross for all mankind.
6.   THE BLACK BELT
She was with child because she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
7.   THE FOUR PETAL FLOWER OVER THE WOMB
She was the Mother of God because the flower was a special symbol of
life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.
8. HER HANDS ARE JOINED IN PRAYER
She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she
pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
9. THE DESIGN ON HER ROSE COLORED GARMENT
She is the Queen of the Earth because she is wearing a contour map of
Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.

The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Science

1.   The image to this date, cannot be explained by science.

2.  The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years!
The tilma or cloak of Saint Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has
been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey
cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!

3. There is no under sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the
image.

4.  Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.

5.  The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown
property of the surface and substance of which it is made.

6.  According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a
modern day photograph.  (Produced 300 years before the invention of
photography.)

7. The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or
camera.

8.  Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is
believed to be the images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan
Gonzales, the interpreter and others.

9.  The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in
the normal eye which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.

10. The stars on Our Lady’s Mantle coincide with the constellations in the sky on
December 12, 1531. All who have scientifically examined the image of Our
Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique
and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!

IN SEARCH OF A SONG TO HELP CELEBRATE THE FEAST THE ONE I GOOGLED WAS “MANANITAS  GUADALUPE,” WHICH MEANS.”BREAK OF DAY”.  YOU’LL FIND THEM, STILL AT NIGHT, WATCHING AND WAITING. BE PATIENT. THE VIDEOGRAPHER WILL EVENTUALLY TAKE YOU INSIDE THE CHURCH TO WITNESS SOMETHING AMAZING TO US GRINGOS. ENJOY.

 BE SURE TO TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS AND ENTER FOR SCREEN. CLICK HERE.

Here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

And here’s a video that explains the meaning of Hanukkah. It’s short and well worth watching. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 8 ~ Mary’s song of justice

 

This is a feast of Mary for us Catholic’s.  In today’s gospel, we read the story of Mary’s Yes to God, her consent to bring Jesus into our world. (Click here to read entire text:) Luke 1:26-38.)

I offer for your reflection the Song of Mary that Luke places upon her lips ~ the Magnificat, sung or recited everywhere in the church throughout the world each evening of the year.

And as you’ll see, it has a pretty radical message ~ if you allow yourself to think about it.

And Mary said:  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy on those who fear him in every generation

He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast  down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered the promise of his mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers [and mothers]

Abraham [and Sarah and Hagar] and [their] children for ever.

+ + + +

The song speaks of lowliness ~ humility. Yet it recognizes what God does in our lives.

Look with favor on ME too, Lord.

Please ~ I need Your favor, Your grace.

Let my Your greatness.

Let me see (and accept) that You do good things for me, too.

Let me cry out every day:  Holy is Your name, my God!

Let Your mercy be on us and our world.

Show Your strength, Lord, the strength of Your justice.

Scatter the proud, the arrogant ones who control so much of our world.

Cast down the mighty.

Lift up the lowly.

Fill the hungry.

Send the rich empty away like the poor, Lord.

Come to the help of Your people in our time.

We, too, are descendants of Abraham ~ Jew / Muslim / Christian.

We are all Your children, Father.

To You be glory and honor and praise for ever.  Amen!

Dear Reader,

The Evangelist Luke places these words in the mouth of Mary at the very beginning of the story of Jesus.  It is the “Magnificat,” the Canticle of Mary, sung or recited by priests and nuns and monks all over the world every day of the year at Evensong.  So, it’s a pretty important text to reflect upon.

I would like you to notice how radical this message is: “Cast down the mighty.” “Raise up the lowly.”  “Send the rich away empty.”

Sounds like a pretty political message, don’t ya think?

People have been thrown into prison for saying things like that.

But these words are two thousand years old!

An essential and enduring part of the Christmas story as told by Luke.

It’s a Song about Justice from the lips of Mary, the Mother of God.  About Justice entering our world.

I have sung Mary’s Song every evening for 30 years with spontaneous melodies arising from the mood of my soul of the moment.

And in that, I try to live the song!

How do you respond, dear friend?

How do you respond?

P. S.  This blog was first posted in 2009 and included this sentence, so don’t criticize me for playing politics! I wonder what is implied here about universal health care and so much more. . .

Now to thrill you and inspire you, here’s introduction to Bach’s Magnificat on You Tube.  If you scroll down the right side of the page, you will find other segments of the concert as well.  Or you can Google “Magnificat videos” and have an amazing choice, including Shubert and Mozart and Michael Talbot. Be sure to enter FULL SCREEN.  ENJOY!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Day 9 ~ Mary’s song of justice

 

This is a feast of Mary for us Catholic’s.  In today’s gospel, we read the story of Mary’s Yes to God, her consent to bring Jesus into our . (Click here to read entire text:) Luke 1:26-38.)


I offer for your reflection the Song of Mary that Luke places upon her lips ~ the Magnificat, sung or recited everywhere in the church throughout the world each evening of the year.

And as you’ll see, it has a pretty radical message ~ if you allow yourself to think about it.

And Mary said:  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy on those who fear him in every generation

He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast  down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered the promise of his mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers [and mothers]

Abraham [and Sarah and Hagar] and [their] children for ever.

+ + + +

The song speaks of lowliness ~ humility. Yet it recognizes what God does in our lives.

Look with favor on ME too, Lord.

Please ~ I need Your favor, Your grace.

Let my soul proclaim Your greatness.

Let me see (and accept) that you do good things for me, too.

Let me cry out every day:  Holy is Your name, my God!

Let your mercy be on us and our world.

Show your strength, Lord, the strength of Your justice.

Scatter the proud, the arrogant ones who control so much of our world.

Cast down the mighty.

Lift up the lowly.

Fill the hungry.

Send the rich empty away like the poor, Lord.

Come to the help of Your people in our time.

We, too, are descendants of Abraham ~ Jew / Muslim / Christian.

We are all Your children, Father.

To You be glory and honor and praise for ever.  Amen!

Dear Reader,

Luke places these words in the mouth of Mary at the very beginning of the story of Jesus.  It is the “Magnificat,” the Canticle of Mary, sung or recited by priests and nuns and monks all over the world every single day of the year at Evensong.  So, it’s a pretty important text to reflect upon.

I would like you to notice how radical this message is: “Cast down the mighty.” “Raise up the lowly.”  “Send the rich away empty.”

Sounds like a pretty political message, don’t ya think?

People have been thrown into prison for saying things like that.

But these words are two thousand years old!

An essential and enduring part of the Christmas story as told by Luke.

It’s a Song about Justice from the lips of Mary, the Mother of God.  About Justice entering our world.

I have sung Mary’s Song every evening for 30 years with spontaneous melodies arising from the mood of my soul of the moment.

And in that, I try to live the song!

How do you respond, dear friend?

How do you respond?

P. S.  This blog was first posted in 2009 and included this sentence, so don’t criticize me for playing politics! I wonder what is implied here about universal health care and so much more. . .

Now to thrill you and inspire you, here’s introduction to Bach’s Magnificat on You Tube.  If you scroll down the right side of the page, you will find other segments of the concert as well.  Or you can Google “Magnificat videos” and have an amazing choice, including Shubert and Mozart and Michael Talbot. Be sure to enter FULL SCREEN.  ENJOY!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 – Our God becomes flesh

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent.Click here.to get an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let us reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation — the Christmas portion of our faith.  (Again if you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation. Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh. He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one one of us and with us. God likes us ~ the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting ~ pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from S. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness).

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you,

embrace you, heal your heart

and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day

because I really, really, really like being caught up in Love!  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a Holiday season.  Here’s a great new Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 2 — Swords to plowshares / guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading “Welcome to Advent” Click here. to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian. (If you’re not tech savvy, click on the little arrow on the top left of your browser above the word “Back” and it’ll bring you right back to this page.)

Today, I’m referring to yesterday’s first reading from Isaiah 2:1-5 that you’ll probably recognize:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and recently, Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was “a defeat for humanity.”

Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let us “Practice peacefulness,” as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping.  Give people a chance.  Be kind.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human being as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

The image below is a photo of the last page of the men’s magazine Details.   This image is actually a GAP commercial selling plaid shirts;  those are young women and men making up the peace sign.) Would that they (we) would put their (our)  bodies, minds and spirits to the task of creating peace in our world!



I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Dear Friends,

Be sure to follow our Advent Blog as we go along. I will publish most days until Christmas.  You can make yourself a five-minute-a-day mini-retreat and have the best and most meaningful Christmas ever!

It’ll relieve your stress.  Calm your nerves.  Put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face.  And it’s free!

And I always spend a lotta time selecting the right photo.  And I search the web for the perfect music video to accompany the theme.

Before you go here’s a real treat for you: Angelina singing St. Francis’ “Make Me a Channel of your Peace,”  filmed right in Assisi.  Click here, Be sure to turn up enter full  screen and turn up your speakers.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Day 7 ~ Mary’s song of justice

 

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

This is a feast of Mary for us Catholic’s.  In today’s gospel, we read the story of Mary’s Yes to God, her consent to bring Jesus into our . (Click here to read entire text:) Luke 1:26-38.)


I offer for your reflection the Song of Mary that Luke places upon her lips ~ the Magnificat, sung or recited everywhere in the church throughout the world each evening of the year.

And as you’ll see, it has a pretty radical message ~ if you allow yourself to think about it.

And Mary said:  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy on those who fear him in every generation

He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast  down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered the promise of his mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers [and mothers]

to Abraham [and Sarah and Hagar] and [their] children for ever.

+ + + +

The song speaks of lowliness ~ humility. Yet it recognizes what God does in our lives.

Look with favor on ME too, Lord.

Please ~ I need Your favor, Your grace.

Let my soul proclaim Your greatness.

Let me see (and accept) that you do good things for me, too.

Let me cry out every day:  Holy is Your name, my God!

Let your mercy be on us and our world.

Show your strength, Lord, the strength of Your justice.

Scatter the proud, the arrogant ones who control so much of our world.

Cast down the mighty.

Lift up the lowly.

Fill the hungry.

Send the rich empty away like the poor, Lord.

Come to the help of Your people in our time.

We, too, are descendants of Abraham ~ Jew / Muslim / Christian.

We are all Your children, Father.

To You be glory and honor and praise for ever.  Amen!

Dear Reader,

Luke places these words in the mouth of Mary at the very beginning of the story of Jesus.  It is the “Magnificat,” the Canticle of Mary, sung or recited by priests and nuns and monks all over the world every single day of the year at Evensong.  So, it’s a pretty important text to reflect upon.

I would like you to notice how radical this message is: “Cast down the mighty.” “Raise up the lowly.”  “Send the rich away empty.”

Sounds like a pretty political message, don’t ya think?

People have been thrown into prison for saying things like that.

But these words are two thousand years old!

An essential and enduring part of the Christmas story as told by Luke.

It’s a Song about Justice from the lips of Mary, the Mother of God.  About Justice entering our world.

I have sung Mary’s Song every evening for 30 years with spontaneous melodies arising from the mood of my soul of the moment.

And in that, I try to live the song!

How do you respond, dear friend?

How do you respond?

P. S.  I wonder what is implied here about universal health care and so much more. . .

Now to thrill you and inspire you, here’s the introduction to Bach’s Magnificat on You Tube.  If you scroll down the right side of the page, you will find other segments of the concert as well.  There are other “Magnificat videos” on google; you have an amazing choice, including Shubert and Mozart and Michael Talbot. Be sure to enter FULL SCREEN.  ENJOY all of them if you like!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 – Our God becomes flesh

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let us reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation — the Christmas portion of our faith.  (Again if you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation. Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh. He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one one of us and with us. God likes us the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting – pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from S. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness).

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you,

embrace you, heal your heart

and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day

because I really, really, really like being caught up in Love.  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a Holiday season.  Here’s a great new Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer