THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Tuesday, December 8, 2021
This is a feast of Mary for us Catholics. In today’s gospel, we read the story of Mary’s Yes to God, her consent to bring Jesus into our world.
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 with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown strength of 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 US too, Lord.
Please ~ We need Your favor ~Your grace.
May we see (and accept) that You do good things for us!
May we 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 as the ones in Power often do to the poor, Lord.
Come to the help of Your people now, Lord ~ especially during this pandemic!
We, too, are All descendants of Abraham ~ Jew ~ Muslim ~Christian ~ non-believer.
We are all Your children, dear God,
To You be glory and honor and praise for ever. Amen!
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 and many more believing Christians 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, doesn’t it?
People have been thrown into prison for saying things like that.
But these words are two thousand years old!
They’re 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 as told by Luke. 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?
There are political messages buried in this song that are pretty obvious for us right now as our country struggles to find itself~ or at any age or in any country.
Now to thrill you and inspire you, here’s the introduction to Bach’s Magnificat on YouTube. 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 John Michael Talbot Be sure to enter FULL SCREEN. ENJOY!
And here are all of today’s Mass readings: Click here.
A special note for you: The image above is a copy of the famous Vladimir icon. It hangs upon the wall in my living room opposite my chair where I pray and write.