DECEMBER 22, 2003- HOMILY: LUKE 1:46- 56

 

MY SOUL PROCLAIMS THE GREATNESS OF THE LORD, MY SPIRIT FINDS JOY IN GOD MY SAVIOR. As the day of our Lordís birth draws very near, Mary, his virgin mother who carries him in her womb, already knowing his name and something of his lifeís work, praises God for the gift of her divine motherhood.  Nothing is more natural than that the mother of the Savior be prominent in our thoughts at this time. So much depends on her that is of the greatest significance for the future of all generations of our race. What is truly remarkable is the fact that she is fully conscious of that fact, acknowledges it, and praises God for that incomparable and unique privilege that consists in being the mother of the Savior of all ages to come. As such she is the channel of salvation for her own people and for all peoples of all time. This is the very theme of her canticle of praise: ďAll ages to come will call me blessed.Ē

Exalted as she knows herself to be, her attitude is one of lowliness of spirit. Maryís humility is the fruit of a profound and intense awareness of her dignity as the mother of Godís own Son, the Savior of mankind. Her canticle of praise, the Magnificat, expressed the great paradox of the Christian spiritual life that consists in self-abasement in proportion as one grows in the knowledge ad love of God. The more intimately one is united with God, the more fully and perfectly conformed to Christ, the more a person experiences her lowliness.  

This is the pure, genuine kind of humility that Mary exemplifies, as she make evident in this inspired hymn of praise. There is nothing of weakness, of a sense of inferiority or of incapacity about Maryís humility, nothing timid, still less. apologetic, as she acknowledges  her elevation. She exults in the fact that ďHe who is mighty has done great things for meĒ. She knew herself in God, as belonging to Him by virtue of His favor, His grace. This is the principle and source of Maryís humility.

In all this she is meant to be a model for all followers of her son. Her hymn of praise is at the same time a triumphal confession of Godís great power and justice. : ďHe has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry He has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away.Ē  

Here we have the true lesson of Christmas. God has created us for His glory. He saves us for his greater glory, by means of a plan hidden from all ages but revealed in these last times. Jesus is born of Mary, God becomes a man, to exalt even us, whom, he makes His own children, destined to share with Mary in His glory even now in a hidden manner, but in the end, openly, along with Mary, the humble Mother of our Savior, exalted above all creatures because she received Godís gift with loving , self-giving faith. May we prepare for Christís birth in the same spirit that she reveals in this, her hymn to Godís glory.

 Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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