29 Noveber 2015

posted 28 Nov 2015, 07:56 by C S Paul
29 Noveber 2015

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth 

Luke 1:39-56King James Version (KJV)

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

The Song of Mary

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54 He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

The Beauty of the Hail Mary

by St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Even though there is nothing so great as the majesty of God and nothing so low as man insofar as he is a sinner, Almighty God does not despise our poor prayers. On the contrary, He is pleased when we sing His praises.

Saint Gabriel's greeting to Our Lady is one of the most beautiful hymns which we can possibly sing to the glory of the Most High. "I will sing a new song to you" (Ps. 143:9).

This new hymn which David foretold was to be sung at the coming of the Messiah is none other than the Angelic Salutation.

There is an old hymn and a new hymn: the first is that which the Jews sang out of gratitude to God for creating them and maintaining them in existence—for delivering them from captivity and leading them safely through the Red Sea—for giving them manna to eat and for all His other blessings.

The new hymn is that which Christians sing in thanksgiving for the graces of the Incarnation and the Redemption. As these marvels were brought about by the Angelic Salutation, so also do we repeat the same salutation to thank the Most Blessed Trinity for His immeasurable goodness to us.

We praise God the Father because He so loved the world that He gave us His only Son as our Savior. We bless the Son because He deigned to leave heaven and come down upon earth—because he was made man and redeemed us. We glorify the Holy Spirit because He formed Our Lord's pure Body in Our Lady's Womb—this Body which was the Victim of our sins. In this spirit of deep thankfulness should we, then, always say the Hail Mary, making acts of faith, hope, love and thanksgiving for the priceless gift of salvation.

Although this new hymn is in praise of the Mother of God and is sung directly to her, nevertheless it greatly glorifies the Most Blessed Trinity because any homage that we pay Our Lady returns inevitably to God Who is the cause of all her virtues and perfections. When we honor Our Lady: God the Father is glorified because we are honoring the most perfect of His creatures; God the Son is glorified because we are praising His most pure Mother, and God the Holy Spirit is glorified because we are lost in admiration at the graces with which He has filled His Spouse.

When we praise and bless Our Lady by saying the Angelic Salutation she always passes on these praises to Almighty God in the same way as she did when she was praised by Saint Elizabeth. The latter blessed her in her most elevated dignity as Mother of God and Our Lady immediately returned these praises to God by her beautiful Magnificat.

Just as the Angelic Salutation gives glory to the Blessed Trinity, it is also the very highest praise that we can give Our Lady.

One day when Saint Mechtilde was praying and was trying to think of some way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Mother better than she had done before, she fell into ecstasy. Our Lady appeared to her with the Angelic Salutation in flaming letters of gold upon her bosom and said to her:

My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more than by saying the salutation which the Most Adorable Trinity sent to me and by which He raised me to the dignity of Mother of God.

By the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva), I learned that in His infinite power God had preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery which the first woman had been subject to.

The name Mary which means "lady of light" shows that God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up heaven and earth.

The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix.

When people say The Lord is with thee they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb.

When you say to me blessed art thou among women I praise Almighty God's divine mercy which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness.

And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind.

Source: Excerpted from St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s book, 'Secret of the Rosary,' Montfort Publications, 1991, Part I.


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