In Your Midst for May 31, 2007
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Fear not, O
a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. Zephaniah 3:16-18a
With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. Isaiah 12:3
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on 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. Luke 1:46-49
Let us pray: Lord, what great things you have done for us…You saw to it that we were born in the wealthiest nation in history, which is being defended by volunteer soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Despite the cross that we are to bear, our spirits rejoice that Jesus is our Savior and that He freed us from sin and delivered us into everlasting salvation. Amen.
Each time we sing the Magnificat, we proclaim to each other what sort of God we believe in and especially how God deals with those of low and high degree. Luther says that we sing it for three reasons: (1) to strengthen our faith; (2) to comfort the lowly and (3) to terrify the mighty. (From Beyond Guilt: Christian Response to Suffering by George S. Johnson, p.37)
This Magnificat is the song of a lonely peasant girl who has found herself pregnant and unwed. She is not even sure that her betrothed will stand by her. She flees her home in search of the comfort of an older cousin who will give her support.
If anyone in history is the opposite of “mighty,” it is our Mary, full of grace and a growing baby in her stomach living in ancient
We strengthen our faith as we proclaim the kind of God whom we worship – a God who respects the lowly, who keeps his promises, who grants mercy to those who love him, and who satisfies the hungry.
Despite her place in society and her social outlook, Mary remains filled with hope: “[God] 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
As anyone who has completed the Just Faith experience will tell you, God reserves a special place in his heart for the “anawim,” the poor children, orphans and widows.” God has given, through Mary as well as throughout the Hebrew Bible and the Good News, a special instruction for the leaders and the community to care for them and keep them in a special place in our hearts.
Another one of the core principles of Catholic Social Teaching is solidarity with the poor. That doesn’t start and end with Mary alone. It extends to this very day in the person of the lonely pregnant teenagers from the South Bronx to
The mightier that we are or seem to be, then the more we must fear when we sing the Magnificat. Mary sings to
How can you support the lowly? Lately there has been a rebirth of service in the Church, especially service to unwed mothers. No longer can leaders be content to stand around proclaiming that God has died for our sins. But during the recently completed Easter season and beyond, God has refreshed us beside the life-giving waters that flow from his Son into other groups we touch.
Today’s Gospel reading of visitation is a scene ripped from the Joyful Mysteries. We encounter two pregnant women having compassion for the condition of each other just as Mary and
Here in our diocese, in
Further away, the Benedictine monks at Belmont Abbey College in
Many other such services are starting to come into being. How can you help? How can you support the lowly and the lonely?
PS: Happy Lonely Bull!