Monday, May 30, 2016

Holy Is His Name

By Melanie Rigney

Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:11-12)

God indeed is my salvation; I am confident and unafraid. (Isaiah 12:2)

“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)

Lord, may I always give You the glory.

Spend a little time with this beautiful painting by the 19th-century French artist
James Tissot [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
James Tissot.  The work, which hangs in the Brooklyn Museum, provides us with a bit of a different perspective of the Visitation. For starters, Tissot depicts a meeting not just of Elizabeth and Mary, but of Zechariah as well. Elizabeth and Zechariah seem a bit confused, perhaps awestruck, perhaps frightened. Mary, on the other hand, appears to be in or close to a state of ecstasy. Tissot called it a “quiet, reverent, whispered expression of a spirit moved to its very depths.” He created this and other biblical works after experiencing a rebirth of sorts of his Catholic faith in 1885.

Mary’s appearance is in perfect harmony with her words. For Mary, it’s all about God and what He has done. She is grateful, humbled, trusting. She pays homage to this favor of an incomprehensible (to most) pregnancy, unconcerned about where it might take her next, focusing not on her own situation and what the next steps are—but on the Lord’s greatness.

While Mary’s gift was unarguably unique in all the world, God presents us with blessings each and every day. We give birth to children and ideas. We fall in love. We create great works of art or fair to middling devotions or stunning photographs. Our medical knowledge and compassion keep people alive. Blessed are we, to be sure. But about whom do our hearts, souls, and mouths proclaim the greatness?

Make a note—written or mental—of your reaction today when someone thanks you or praises you for something. Is your reaction one of pride or humility? Does it square with the way Mary would respond?

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