Posted by: fvbcdm | December 22, 2015

Anniversary of the Approval of the Order of Preachers (22 December 2015)

In the gospel of today’s Mass, we read the second half of an immortal dialogue between two women that took place 2000 years ago, but will never be lost or forgotten. Mary, the little virgin of Nazareth, had been told by the archangel Gabriel that her elderly cousin was expecting a baby. So Mary undertook the 90-mile journey, probably on foot, from Galilee in the north to Judea in the south, to be of help to Elizabeth during her preparation for the birth of her baby.

As we saw yesterday, when Mary entered the home of Elizabeth and her husband Zachary, Elizabeth greeted her: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  In response, Our Lady spoke her famous “Magnificat,” a burst of praise of God whose name is taken from its first word in Latin: “Magnificat” means “glorifies.” Our Lady said “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

Then she begins a litany of the wonderful things that God has done, not only for her, but for all humankind. It is awesome to remember that we are dealing with a very private conversation between two women who were, in the eyes of the world, very ordinary people. But not in the eyes of God. They are two enormously special women; one became the mother of Saint John the Baptist; the other became the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In her Magnificat, Our Lady utters this prophecy: From now on, all generations will call me blessed. I love that line because it is so profoundly true, because it guarantees us that true Christian devotion to and veneration of the Virgin Mother of Jesus will never end, and because I am part of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Our Lady’s words found their way into the gospel according to Luke. And whatever is in any of the four gospels is assured immortality and is to be taken as words of God himself. The Church, for centuries, has incorporated the Magnificat into her official Evening Prayer, or Vespers, every day. And every priest and religious of the Catholic Church, to say nothing of the Orthodox, the Anglicans, and maybe others that I don’t know about, also pray the Magnificat daily. Thus, hundreds of thousands of people say it every day, and have been doing so for centuries. Who could have known that when those two women greeted each other on Elizabeth’s doorstep, their words would have this kind of future.

And furthermore, every evening, when I say Evening Prayer, I become again part of Our Lady’s awe-filled prediction: “All generations will call me blessed!” She saw herself merely “the handmaid of the Lord.” But the Father saw her as worthy to be the mother of His Son, and the Son was delighted to take flesh in her womb, to nurse at her breasts, and to spend about 90% of his life in her company in the little home in Nazareth. And now at this Christmastime again, we say with tremendous joy: Blessed are you, Mary, among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.


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