Today is Thursday the 8th of December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
The Gaudete Ensemble conducted by Eamon Dougann sing 'Ave Generosa' by Margaret Rizza.
Gloriosa et intacta puella.
Tu pupilla castitatis,
Tu materia sanctitatis,
Que Deo placuit.
Nam hec superna infusio in te fuit,
Quod supernum Verbum in te carnem induit.
Tu candidum lilium,
Quod Deus ante omnem creaturam inspexit.
O pulsherrima et dulcissima,
Quam valde Deus in te delectabatur,
Cum amplexionem caloris sui in te posuit,
Ita quod Filius eius de te lactatus est.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
What can this scene really have been like for Mary? We hear it in the Scriptures and see it in so many paintings but can barely imagine it. What we do get is a sense of God’s courtesy towards Mary. There is no force or coercion here, but Mary’s honest, direct question and God’s response of full confidence in this young girl. Try to stay with whatever catches your attention.
God’s answers are not about the mechanics of what is happening, but about confidence that great things can be born in us when we respond in trust. Do you have a sense of something ready to be born in you, or in the world around you?
As we listen to this remarkable reading being read again, notice if any words or thoughts strike you particularly. Allow yourself to be drawn into the mystery of God’s entry into our human condition in whatever way God invites you.
Whatever your reaction to this reading, there is an offer in this Advent time for God’s mystery to unfold in you. In so many pictures of this event, Mary is startled but still, opening herself to God’s Word. How does this Word resonate in you?
Lord and Ruler
Root of Jesse
Key of David
King of the Nations
Come, Lord Jesus