Fri, 21 December 2018
(1Sm.1:24-28; 1Sm.2:1,4-8; Lk.1:46-56)
“His mercy is from age to age
on those who fear Him.”
The Magnificat of Mary mirrors but, if I may say, far surpasses the Canticle of Hannah in beauty, in wonder, in grace… even as the perfection of the Son she bears far exceeds the blessing of the prophet Samuel. As Jesus brings to fulfillment the greatness of all who came before Him, so Mary’s song expresses that perfection in the light of the same divine mercy.
Mercy indeed is infused in each line she utters under the power of the Spirit. Mercy and truth, a love completely open to the blessings of God is hers and is revealed in the words which fall like cleansing rain from her immaculate lips. She is blessed, she knows, and she shall be called blessed; for the truth, the Word of God, cannot be hidden, must be raised to meet the eyes and ears of all who seek His grace. For “the hungry He [gives] every good thing,” and the lowly He raises “to high places.” She is “His servant in her lowliness” and the joy of such blessing she cannot help but proclaim with all her being.
Hannah brings the child she has conceived in answer to her prayer, through the intercession of Eli – by the grace of God – and dedicates him to the Lord, leaving him at the temple. She, too, “exults in the Lord” for the fact that, in the Lord’s will, “the barren wife bears seven sons”; for she who was thought sterile has borne the great man of God, Samuel. Mary, in her grateful appreciation for the blessing upon her, will not need to leave her child at the temple, for He has been conceived entirely of the Holy Spirit and is Himself the Temple of the Lord, wholly dedicated to the will of the Father from before the inception of time.
As the ancient Israelites found the direction and guidance of God through the ministry of Samuel, as by him they were led to serve the Lord their God, so now in this the end of the age we have Jesus, the perfect light of guidance through the grace and mercy of God, to lead us to the total service of the Lord that Mary embodies so well. God is “mighty,” brothers and sisters; “holy is His name.” Let us rejoice in Him who “has upheld Israel His servant, ever mindful of His mercy,” and let us make that same blessed mercy the leaven that lifts us unto heaven. To Him let us sing our song of praise.
O LORD, Mary you have blessed
with your very presence,
and so she has become the Temple in which you dwell –
may we all become as your Temple.
YHWH, to the humble you show your mercy; you raise them up to dwell with you. Our Mother Mary is the humblest of our race, and so she is at your side forever in Heaven. O may we be blessed as she!
Hannah, too, you blessed, O LORD, she who had borne no children. Samuel, the man of God, you gave to her, for she had promised to give him to you. But the Son of Mary who could give to you, for He is with you always? Let us be with Him this very day, that we might remain in your Temple.
O LORD, the proud and the mighty you tear down that they might know they are of the earth. But the meek and humble you raise to high places, even to your presence. Let us leave behind all the riches of this world; help us to escape the trap they are to us, the death they spell to our souls, that with the lowly we might dwell, in your eternal kingdom. O let your servants live!