Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12/22/10 - The Magnificat

Luke 1:46-56
Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon 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.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.

Yesterday we saw Elizabeth's greeting to Mary.  Mary responds with a humility that is pretty much unknown in today's world. She directs praise and glory to the Father, she calls herself a servant, and she sings a song of praise to the Lord in a style and beauty equal to the greatest of the ancient Psalms.

What is it like to see a person whose soul proclaims (some translations say "magnifies") the greatness of the Lord? A person whose spirit rejoices in God? What is that person like?

I'm still working on that answer.

Up until the summer of 2008, I hadn't pursued any kind of relationship with the Blessed Virgin. I even hit a point in my life where I thought I didn't need her. The bible says that there is one mediator between God and man, so why should I need the Blessed Mother? I can go directly to the Father, just as Christ said.

What a mistake. Of epic proportions. A classic case of picking and choosing from Scripture, rather than considering the entirety of the Word of God. 

Fortunately she didn't give up on me. After spending some time with my CRHP brothers, I began to see that she really makes a difference in people's lives. I didn't understand how, but I could definitely see the results in the people around me. I asked for help from them, so I could get some of what they had. One of my brothers gave me a Rosary. I started to say it, and to prayerfully ask the Lord to show me the Blessed Virgin. The relationship began to grow.

As I said yesterday, in Mary we see what an intimate relationship with Christ is like.  I took a feeble stab at it yesterday.  Pope John Paul II said it a little better in his 2002 Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae: 

"10. The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. The eyes of her heart already turned to him at the Annunciation, when she conceived him by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the months that followed she began to sense his presence and to picture his features. When at last she gave birth to him in Bethlehem, her eyes were able to gaze tenderly on the face of her Son, as she “wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger” (Lk2:7).

Thereafter Mary's gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of a mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14).

11. Mary lived with her eyes fixed on Christ, treasuring his every word: “She kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19; cf. 2:51). The memories of Jesus, impressed upon her heart, were always with her, leading her to reflect on the various moments of her life at her Son's side. In a way those memories were to be the “rosary” which she recited uninterruptedly throughout her earthly life."