Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, December 22

As We Prepare With an Expectant Hope for the Birth of Our Savior, Let Us Pray That, As the Holy Spirit Filled Mary With the Very Presence of God Himself, May He Fill Us With the Gift of Knowing and Feeling the Indwelling of His Love and Peace Within Our Hearts.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Mary’s hymn of praise, considered by many to be one of the most majestic poems of the entire Bible!

The “Magnificat” is the title commonly given to the Latin text and the vernacular translation of the “Canticle or Song of Mary”. The title itself comes from the first word of the Latin text of the prayer, “Magnificat anima mea Dominum…”“My soul magnifies the Lord…”

Every evening, those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is also called the Divine Office, which both Catholic clergy and religious are bound by obedience to pray, join millions of faithful around the world in prayer remembering these special words spoken by Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

It is by means of this prayer, this song of praise, whereby we recall Mary’s example of faith to which the whole Church aspires. When we read in today’s Gospel this canticle during this season of hope and expectation, the first words seem to raise our hearts in both song and prayer: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

The Magnificat becomes both the song of the Mother of God and the song of the entire Body of Christ – all God’s children everywhere, as we lift up our hearts and voices to our Eternal Father as a genuine offering of praise and thanksgiving, echoing the song of Hannah which we read in today’s Responsorial Psalm!

If we could take but a moment and mentally place ourselves at this scene where Mary is greeting her cousin, we can feel her emotions as she prays, “…my spirit rejoices in God my savior for he has looked upon his lowly servant.” This song, this canticle is so filed with quiet grace and confidence in God’s Merciful Love that it imparts that same feeling to those of us who echo its words down throughout the millennia.

Even before the birth of Christ Himself, we find, in the very selfless nature of Mary’s thoughts and actions, a beauty and a simplicity which allow us to naturally place her in high esteem. And in Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, we become witnesses to her acts of humility and selfless love – acts which the Son of God embraces and sanctifies as He becomes the Son of Man.

And in this purity of selfless thought and deed on Mary’s part, setting her needs secondary to those of Elizabeth, Mary recalls the angel’s greeting and the great honor which has been bestowed upon her, which prompts this chosen daughter of the Eternal Father to give genuine thanksgiving and praise to her God:

“From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” – words which are but a sincere form of prayer giving gratitude and honor to her Heavenly Father and ours.

If we could attain to the level of faith which Mary embraced and the virtuous life which she lived, we would find within ourselves that indwelling of peace that her Divine Son came to give each of us. And we would also find the glorious serenity that places all of our cares and sorrows of this world into the hands of God – truly trusting in the God who is Love, truly trusting in the greatest attribute of His Love which is Mercy.

Ah, but sadly, ours is a fallen nature! To be able to do this would require great faith and great trust; and for many, that is very difficult.

As you and I continue to experience our joys and sorrows, our trials and experiences of everyday life, the question begs to be asked – “How can we, as children of God, even come close to that serenity and peace which filled the heart of Mary?”

It was that same serenity and peace which filled the heart of Hannah in our First Reading today. And in that serenity and peace, she trusted that God would take care of her son Samuel as she dedicated him to her Lord.

And in our Responsorial today, which is also taken from the First Book of Samuel, Hannah expresses her thanksgiving as she gives praise to God for hearing and answering her prayer by giving her a gift which filled her heart with joy – the gift of a son!

As I asked above, how can you and I, as children of God, embrace the serenity and peace which filled Mary’s heart, and that of Hannah’s? The answer is prayer, and an abiding love and faith in a God who truly loves each of us beyond all measure of human understanding.

His Love for us is so infinitely great that He gave to each of us Mary as a model of virtue to honor and emulate. For it was prayer, love and faith in God which filled Mary’s heart.

It filled her life to such an extent that even her “fiat” in her response to the Archangel Gabriel was given unreservedly and with great trust in God’s providential Love – a fiat which would result in the greatest good which God would ever give to the world out of Divine Love and Mercy – the birth of the Christ Child, the Eternal Word made flesh, which we shall celebrate in just three days.

As we prepare with an expectant hope for the birth of our Savior, let us pray that, as the Holy Spirit filled Mary with the very Presence of God Himself, may He fill us with the gift of knowing and feeling the indwelling of His Love and Peace within our own hearts.

And may we imitate the faith, trust and love which our Blessed Mother lived in her life, praising and giving thanks to God for all the wondrous gifts which He has given to each and every one of us, His faithful children.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “My heart exults in the LORD, my horn is exalted in my God…The LORD puts to death and gives life, casts down to Sheol and brings up again. The LORD makes poor and makes rich, he humbles, he also exalts.” (1 Samuel 2:1b, 6-7)
  • “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 all ages will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.’” (Luke 1:46-49)
  • “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 helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy.” (Luke 1:52-54)
  • “You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor.” (Psalm 22:24ab)
  • “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all who govern on earth; Young men and women too, old and young alike. Let them all praise the LORD’s name, for his name alone is exalted, His majesty above earth and heaven.” (Psalm 148:11-13)
  • “For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’(Romans 14:11; cf. Isaiah 45:23)

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Prayer for the Day

“All praise and glory are Yours, Almighty Father:
You have given us Your Son, Jesus, to save us from sin.
We praise You for choosing Mary to be His Mother,
for teaching her to believe Your message,
for helping her to accept Your Holy will.

“Strengthen us by Your Spirit to be like Mary:
to ponder Your Word in our hearts,
to embrace and obey Your will,
to love Your Son,
to sing Your praises every day.

“Most Loving and Eternal Father,
we praise You through Jesus Christ, Your Son,
in the love of Your Spirit,
for ever and ever. Amen.”

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