Thursday, December 22, 2016

O REX GENTIUM (O King of Nations)

thou for whom they long, 
the Cornerstone that makest them both one: 
Come and save thy creatures 
whom thou didst fashion from the dust of the earth.

Listen  HERE

1 Samuel 1:24-28; 2:1,4-8; Luke 1:46-56

Today's Gospel is the response Mary made to Elizabeth's acknowledgment of her blessedness. Mary's words are infused with expressions found in other Biblical canticles and songs which she clearly knew off by heart. On her lips, however, the words are imbued with a far deeper meaning than they had in the Old Testament. Mary's rejoicing begins with the stark acknowledgment that she is "saved by grace" ("my spirit hath rejoiced in God MY Saviour"). Incidentally, salvation by grace alone is one of the truths that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception seeks to guard. 

In union with Mary and the Church down through the ages we pray her song, "the Magnificat" every day at Evensong (or "Vespers"). The Church makes these words her own, singing exuberantly the song of Mary's rejoicing, and, incidentally, reminding ourselves that our only hope of salvation is God's grace. 

With Mary - who we even say has "foreshadowed" the Church - we bless and thank God for his loving-kindness and grace, and all the other blessing he has given us.

Mary is struck by her own lowliness before the immensity of God's power and greatness, for he has worked wonders. As we sing her song, we, too, will be humbled by that same power and greatness; most of all we will be smitten by his love. 

We are approaching the end of Advent. Today Mary shows us the way. Mulling over her prayer in faith, humility and love, and making it our own by faith, will help us to be ready for the coming of Jesus. And, as we do each evening, let us make her great song of praise our own:

My soul doth magnify the Lord : 
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour, 
For he hath regarded : 
the lowliness of his handmaiden. 
For behold, from henceforth : 
all generations shall call me blessed. 
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : 
and holy is his name. 
And his mercy is on them that fear him : 
throughout all generations. 
He hath shewed strength with his arm : 
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : 
and exalted the humble and meek. 
He hath filled the hungry with good things : 
and the rich he hath sent empty away 
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : 
as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

O God, who, seeing man fallen into death,
hast desired to redeem him
by the coming of thy Only Begotten Son,
grant, we beseech thee,
that they who profess his Incarnation with humble devotion
may come to know him as their Redeemer.
Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen.


Post a Comment