Thursday of the Fourth Week in Advent

Lectionary: 198

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon 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.

When ecclesiastics speak of the holy church as forever sinless, they point especially to the Blessed Mother. She is the very heart of the church, the very heart of our response to God. Sinners that we are, we gather to her, asking her to pray for us and permitting her to pray as our voice before God.
Saint Paul recalled that the Holy Spirit gives us words when we do not know how to pray; Mary, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, speaks those words for us.

Jesus is our satisfaction, Mary is our prayer for satisfaction. As the flower of her race she speaks for everyone who longs for mercy, justice and peace; but she prays with a joyful heart, confident of God’s ear.
She prays with courage in the face of everything that has happened. She does not pray ignorantly or foolishly; she is not a Pollyanna who simply pretends that everything will be just fine. As the Mother of the Crucified she knows what Hannah Arendt called, “the banality of evil.”  

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.
In the past several years we have seen the banal evil of “fake news” suddenly rise from the sewer of tabloids to sway a national election. People who are “neither perverted nor sadistic” intentionally generate, seek and spread untruths on social media for the fun of it, as if evil has no consequence. Adolph Eichmann, a normal man, lives next door.  

We honor Mary because she loves the truth and speaks only the truth. She cannot speak an untruth to serve a higher cause; there is no higher cause than Truth. 

Elected by God, she will always be an extraordinary woman. Momentarily startled by the appearance of an angel, she speaks fearlessly, "Let it be done to me according to your word." 

The Church prays today's gospel, her Magnificat, every day of the year during Evening Prayer. We want to make her words our own; and her courage, our confidence. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.