The Canticle of Mary
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A visiting priest in a small country church delivered a 30-minute sermon on “Gratitude.” At the conclusion of the sermon, he said, “And remember, however, small the gift, always be grateful to the Lord.”
Later, when it was time for the collection, an usher used the preacher’s hat to take up the love offering. When the hat came back to him, the preacher shook it carefully, but heard no sound. Then he turned it upside down. But nothing came out. It was empty!
Seeing this, every eye in the congregation watched to see if the preacher would practice what he had just preached. Whereupon, the clergy raised his hands to heaven, still holding the empty hat, and said, “”I thank Thee Lord that, at least, I got back my hat!”
The theme of the gospel reading is gratitude. This is expressed in the Blessed Mother’s hymn of praise, the Magnificat. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….”
We see here Mary’s spirit of gratitude for having been chosen the mother of Christ. We see here also her spirit of humility.
Being humble means accepting the truth. It doesn’t mean suppression of one’s personal attributes or an abject self-depreciation.
Humility is a virtue and a virtue must be built on truth or it’s no virtue at all. Thus in her Magnificat, Mary openly declared, “Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed?” Should I not speak of my good qualities and accomplishments? Yes, you may but do not brag or parade them which might be impossible for a politician to do. Let others speak of your attributes and good works.
I remember how a father taught his son the following analogy about humility: “Look at those rice stalks,” he said, “note that the ones having rich grains are bowed down while those that have small, almost empty grains are standing upright.”
As the Book of Sirach puts it: “The greater you are, the more humble you should behave, then you will find favor with the Lord,” (3:18). (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2005)
Mary’s Magnificat is a prayer, a poem, a psalm, and a paean – rolled into one.
It is also a story. It tells of the God who exalts the humble, the God who is merciful. It is the story of the storyteller herself, for it recounts how a lowly maidservant was raised to the highest honor of being the Mother of God.
She is the most blessed of all. The Angel Gabriel said it. Elizabeth pronounced it. Now, Mary herself confirms it: “All generations will call me blessed.”
Why blessed? Because the Lord is with her, as Gabriel said. That is why the measure of grace is filled up to the brim. Mary wants nothing. She has Jesus. Jesus is more than enough.
No one knows Jesus as much as she does. And no one else is as close to Jesus as she is.
One wonders how many secret things she knew about Jesus. Certainly, she had a lot of these treasures. For she experienced the joy no one else knew – the joy of being with Jesus for the longest time.
Because of this singular joy, Mary must have recited the Magnificat throughout her life – in moments of solitude and prayer. Her lips must have uttered praises to God a million times over: “My soul magnifies the Lord, My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.”
Perhaps, she even sang her Magnificat on the way to Calvary as she accompanied her Son. For the Magnificat is not only a song of praise uttered in a moment of deepest joy. It is also a canticle of faith expressed in a moment of deepest sorrow.
Even as she watched her Son suffer and die, Mary knew deep in her heart that God’s promise was being fulfilled.
That is the deeper meaning of her Magnificat. (Fr. Raymund I. Festin, SVD Bible Diary 2006)
“The Magnificat,” said Stanley Jones, “is the most revolutionary document in the world.”
First, Mary sings about a moral revolution in which God blesses the humble and lowly. Jesus said, “Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!” (Matt 5:5). If man sets his life against that of Christ, he will be humbled, surely. Christ enables us to see ourselves for who we are: nothing! “Without me you can do nothing,” Christ tells us. Seeing ourselves in this light gives a death blow to our pride.
Second, Mary sings about social revolution in which God blesses the poor and the needy. Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor for the Kingdom of God is your,” (Luke 6:20).
Muretus was a wandering scholar in the Middle Ages. Sick from his travels, he was admitted to a hospital where doctors discussed in Latin, trying to make a, “guinea pig” out of him, a specimen for experimentation, he being a mere wanderer, yes, a stranger, hence, a dispensable, worthless victim.
In their own language, he answered them, “”Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.” Truly, in Christ there is no Gentile, slave or freeman. As He died for all, all are one in Him.
Finally, Mary sings about an Economic revolution in which God blesses the hungry and starving. Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be satisfied.” In a godless society, each man fends for himself, chacun por soi, as the French say, or kanya-kanya, as we say in Filipino language.
But for Christians, each one is his brother’s keeper. We are to love and serve one another. ‘For I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me…”
Without doubt, “there is loveliness in the Magnificat,” notes William Barclay, “but in that loveliness there is dynamite.” It is indeed, the most revolutionary document in the world. (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
Do you sometimes feel like singing or humming a happy tune when you are overjoyed? That, multiplied many times, is how the Blessed Mother Mary must have felt when she offered her song to the Lord which has become one of the great hymns of the church – the “Magnificat.” The scene is the “Visitation,” the younger Mary visiting her elder cousin Elizabeth. Not only the two mothers but even baby John the Baptist are ecstatic with joy. Why? It is because of Jesus! Emmanuel – God with us! They all feel the joy-causing presence of God with them. God has visited them. This is why we are joyful in the Christmas season.
For Mother Mary, her joy was caused by another reason mentioned in her song. It is because God observed and noticed the lowly, and he did great things for them. It must have been incomprehensible to Mary that God would have noticed and chosen a humble common girl like her. And so she exalts God who favors, not only herself, but all the poor and the lowly that the world overlooks. Christmas is really good news first announced to the poor and the lowly.
In God’s world, no one is unimportant and useless; no one is so low and small that Jesus would not come into the world for Him. God’s design is inversely proportional to the usual social standards. The small is beautiful, those in the low places are high, the last are the first, and the hungry will be filled. The Magnificat is like Mary’s version of the Beatitudes. It is good news for those who are disadvantaged in the social race, but a warning for those who think of themselves as higher than heaven.
The secret to attaining joy is revealed here. Joy comes to those who seek the presence of God, those who trust God enough to surrender themselves to His will, those who are simple and humble in the desires of their hearts those who are “poor” and puts serving the poor and needy first before the self, and those who sing the praise of God in gratitude. (Fr. Emil Lim, SVD Bible Diary 2009)
December 22, 2016 Thursday
Timothy Radcliff e, former Master of the Order (Dominicans) wrote on the foreword of the Seven Last Words: “The Word was not silenced. These Seven Last Words live. The tomb did not engulf them.”
In a few days, we will be celebrating the WORD becoming FLESH who made his dwelling among us. It was the coming of this WORD that changed the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary forever. It was the same WORD that moved Mary to proclaim and to share her joy to her cousin Elizabeth. Today we have the beautiful WORDS of Mary’s Magnificat! In this beautiful prayer, Mary expresses her gratitude for having been chosen, in her lowly state, the mother of God’s only Son. This is also Mary’s testimony on God’s unconditional and unlimited mercy!
For those who are going through difficult times; for those who are walking in the valley of darkness; for those who are trying to heal broken relationships; for those who just lost loved ones; for those who are suffering from mental illness; for those who are alone especially in the twilight of their lives; for those who are anxious for losing a job: the WORDS of the Magni cat are for YOU!
Allow the WORD of GOD, rich in MERCY and LOVE to ll you with HOPE and NEW LIFE! This WORD is ALIVE! It was not silenced! It lives! The tomb did not engulf it! (Fr. Kaloi Macatangga, SVD | Toronto, Canada Bible Diary 2016)
PUSONG MAPAGPASALAMAT: Reflection for 7th Day of CHRISTMAS NOVENA / SIMBANG GABI – December 22, 2014 – YEAR OF THE POOR
Ano ba ang laman ng iyong panalangin sa tuwing ikaw ay magdarasal? Baka naman puro hingi ka lang at yun lang ang laman ng iyong panalangin? May kuwento ng isang taong laging nanghihingi sa kanyang panalangin.. Minsang napadaan siya sa isang simbahan at tumapat sa isang imahe ni Jesus na nakapako sa krus. “Panginoon, sana naman bigyan mo ako ng t-shirt na Calvin Klein, maong pants na LEVIS, sapatos na NIKE at relo na G-SHOCK! Laking gulat niya ng sumagot ang Panginoon, “Mahiya ka naman Juan… tingnan mo nga ako, bahag lang ang suot ko, ikaw kung makahingi… WAGAS!” hehehe… Baka naman kapag nagdasal tayo ang nasasambit natin ay “PENGE NOON… PENGE NOON…” sa halip na ” PANGINOON! PANGINOON! Hindi ba dapat ang unang lumalabas sa ating bibig ay pagpupuri at pasasalamat? Ang lakas nating humingi sa Diyos ngunit hina naman natin magpasalamat. Ang mga pagbasa natin sa ika-7 araw ng ating Nobena para sa Pasko ay mag tema ng PASASALAMAT. Nagpasalamat si Ana sa pagbibigay ni Yahweh sa kanya ng anak na si Samuel at bilang utang na loob ay inihandog niya si Samuel sa templo upang maglingkod. Sa Ebenghelyo naman ay punong-puno ng kagalakan na ipinahayag ni Maria ang kanyang pasasalamat sa Diyos sa kanyang MAGNIFICAT! “Ang puso ko’y nagpupuri sa Panginoon!… dahil sa mga dakilang bagay na ginawa sa akin ng Makapangyarihan!” Sa ating buhay ay napakadaling magpasalamat sa Diyos hangga’t mabuti ang mga kaganapan natin. Madaling magsabi ng “Praise the Lord!” kapag napromote ka sa trabaho, kapag nanalo ka sa lotto, kapag nakapasa ka sa board exam. Subukan mong mag praise the Lord kapag nasunugan ka ng bahay, kapag nalugi ka sa negosyo, kapag iniwan ka ng kasintahan mo… ang hirap di ba? Dapat natin pasalamatan ang Panginoon sa maraming biyayang ipinagkakaloob Niya sa atin. Dapat natin siyang pasalamatn sa mga maganda at maging sa mga di-kaaya-ayang pnagyayari sa ating buhay. Una sa lahat sa regalo ng BUHAY na patuloy niyang ipinagkakaloob sa atin. Pangalawa ay sa biyaya ng PAMILYA na mayroon tayo. Hindi man perpekto ang ating pamilya subalit ito ang “the best” na ibinigay niya para sa atin. At pangatlo ay dapat rin natin siyang pasalamatan sa biyaya ng KALIKASAN na patuloy na umiiral at bumubuhay sa atin! Ngunit tandaan natin na ang pasasalamat ay mayrooon dapat na kaukulang pagbibigay. Sa ingles ito ay THANKS-GIVING! Hindi lang thanks kundi may GIVING na dapat mangyayari. Ang tunay na pasasalamat ay may kaukulang pagbibigay at ang pagbibigay ay dapat may kasamag SAKRIPISYO sapagkat may bahagi sa atin na nawawala kapag tayo ay naghahandog. Kapag nagsabi ka ng THANKS sa mga magulang mo ay dapat may kasama itong pagsunod, paggalang at pagmamahal sa iyong mga magulang. Kapag nagsabi ka ng thanks sa mga teachers mo ay may kasama dapat itong pagsisikap na mag-aaral ka at hindi magpapabaya sa iyong pag-aaral. Kapag nagsabi ka ng thanks sa asawa mo ay may kasama itong pagbibigay ng katapatan sa kanya at pag-aaruga sa iyong pamilya. Huwag sana nating sabihin para sa mga may kaya lang ang pagbibigay. Sabi nga ni Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta : “If you cannot feed one hundred people then feed at least one!” Ibig sabihin ay walang taong masyadong mahirap para magkaloob ng tulong sa iba. Tadaan natin na sa pagtulong ang prinsipyo ay :”Kung gusto mo may paraan, kung ayaw mo may dahilan!” Kung matututo lamang tayong magbigay mababawasan ang mga makasarili sa ating mundo at magkakaroon ang bawat isa sa atin ng PUSONG MARUNONG MAGPASALAMAT! Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan
Monday, December 21, 2015
December 22 MISA DE GALLO – LUKAS 1:46-56. UNSA MAN ANG HAGIT SA AWIT NI MARIA ALANG KANATO KARON? Gipadayag ni Maria ang iyang pagpasalamat ug pagdayeg sa Ginoo tungod sa mga dagkong butang nga Iyang gihimo para sa katawhan sa Israel. Nasayod si Maria nga ang Ginoo nanginlabot kanunay sa kinabuhi sa mga tawo. Ang katawhan sa Israel gilabanan sa Dios batok sa tanang kaaway. Ug siya nga ubos nga sulugoon gituboy sa Dios labaw sa tanang binuhat. Atong masabot sa awit ni Maria nga ang Ginoo adunay dakong pagbati sa mga tawo nga anaa sa ubos nga hut-ong sa katilingban, walay tingog, ug dinaugdaog. Kini nagdasig sa mga kabos nga dili mawad-an og paglaum tungod kay sila ang labing duol sa kasingkasing sa Dios. Nag-awhag usab kini sa tanan nga motabang sa mga kabos ug makigbatok para sa ilang katungod.
Atong ilhon ang mga tawo diha sa atong palibot nga wala mahatagi og saktong pagtagad, wala mapaminaw, ug ang mga biktima sa pagdaugdaog ug inhustisya.
Makighiusa kita sa mga kabos pinaagi sa pagtinabangay ug paghatag og kusog sa usag-usa. Posted by Abet Uy
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
DECEMBER 22 – LUKAS 1:46-56. KINSA MAY LABANAN SA DIOS UG KINSA MAY DILI? Sa iyang Awit sa Pagdayeg, gisangyaw ni Maria nga ang Dios “nagpakitag kalooy sa tanan nga may kahadlok kaniya”, “gituboy niya ang mga timawa”, ug “gibusog niya ang mga gigutom”. Apan, ang Dios “nagpatibulaag sa mga tawo nga mapahitas-on”, “gipukan niya ang mga hari nga gamhanan”, ug “gipapahawa nga walay dala ang mga dato”. Kining Awit ni Maria usa ka maayong balita para sa mga kabos ug timawa. Ang Dios mobati sa ilang kahimtang ug molihok alang sa ilang kaluwasan. Apan, ang maong Awit usa ka makusganong pahimangno alang sa mga dato ug gamhanan. Kon sila magmapahitas-on ug dili malooy, ang Dios molaglag kanila ngadto sa kaparotan. Klaro ang nahisulat sa Libro ni Santiago 4:6, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Posted by Abet Uy
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Reflection for December 22, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:46-56
Reflection: Why did Mary remain with her cousin Elizabeth for three months? Why not leave her after one or two months? Mary left after three months because she wanted to ensure that she would be by her side if she gave birth.
Considering that during that time Mary was also pregnant with Jesus she could have simply excused herself and went home to rest. But she did not she saw to it that she would first take care of her cousin’s needs before her own.
By serving her cousin Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord who was with her. Perhaps in the infinite mind of God He was telling Mary you want to praise me? Then learn to serve your cousin first. You want to praise me? Forget yourself first because it’s in forgetting of yourself that you could best highlight my abiding presence in your life.
You can indeed best serve and praise God by serving others. And by forgetting yourself so that those who are in need may live and have life. You can never serve God if your focus is always yourself and your own selfish needs and wants. – Marino J. Dasmarinas
LET US REJOICE! And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” – Luke 1:46
I can really shout for joy. The Lord has blessed me and my family with milestones I could not have imagined. This year was the college graduation of my youngest son. It was the first time I went up on stage to receive his award as “Most Outstanding PT Intern” at the University of Sto. Tomas. Next, the fruit of our labor for a power project in Mindanao was finally signed without any tinge of grease money. Another milestone was the opportunity to launch my fourth book, How to Become a Happy Retiree at the Kerygma Conference, which also became a National Bookstore bestseller.
With all these achievements, I remain grounded, knowing that all these blessings are not mine to own and boast of. Rather, they are just gifts from God that I manage. Time, talent, treasure is a supply depot that must be plowed back for God’s purpose and glory.
Every time you pray, start with praise and recall all the instances, big and small, of how God has blessed your life.
Praise that is spontaneous and personal is the best gift you can offer to Jesus this Christmas. How good it is to sing praises to our God (Psalm 147:1)!Dean Pax Lapid (email@example.com)
Reflection: Make a list of the gifts God has given you this year. Then let your spirit rejoice in God our Savior!
Father God, You have loved me and blessed me to enjoy the abundant life. For this I’m truly grateful. I praise Your glorious name forever and ever. Amen.
A GLOBAL WOMAN – The Middle Eastern culture in the time of Jesus, and even in our own time, is strongly patriarchal. Men have all the rights and prerogatives. They were naturally active in their socio-political issues and concerns. They would congregate at the market squares to discuss the latest developments.
Women, on the other hand, were expected to be more focused on familial and domestic works, such as keeping the home and attending to the needs of the family. They have some social activities, usually at the well, where they would have time to engage in some “women talk.”
The “Magnificat” of Mary is, therefore, noteworthy to examine. It is not a simple song that a typical Israelite woman would have sung. The traditional song of women could have been along the lines of a nursery rhyme that they taught to their children, a lullaby that they would sing for infants to go to sleep, or a love song that could have expressed their feelings for the man of their life. But Mary’s “Magnificat” makes us appreciate her as one who is in line with the Old Testament heroines: Esther, the Queen, who defied possible death because of the unjust law of the Persian King Xerxes; and Judith, who saved Israel from the threat of Holofernes and his Assyrian Army. Mary sings about the might of God dispersing the arrogant rulers from their thrones, and God’s deliverance in favor of the poor.
Jesus, who is born of Mary, will go on to renounce and challenge the unjust ways of scribes, Pharisees and temple authorities. He will also show great mercy to people marginalized by the laws and traditions of Judaism.
Christmas therefore must not be reduced to some cheap joyful celebration of love and peace among family and friends. Christmas with its primary characters — Jesus and Mary — should make us more aware of social, economic, cultural and political issues that we need to be involved with. The mystery of Jesus becoming incarnate in Mary is telling us that the Christian Gospel needs to be enfleshed in human situations that are personal and global.Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: As we approach Christmas day, what burning issues in your local community, in the nation, and in the whole world are you well aware of? How do these issues challenge your way of celebrating Christmas in accordance with the Gospel values?
Lord, make me an involved citizen of the community that You have planted me in. Amen.
December 22, 2016: Thoughts on the Seventh Day of Simbang Gabi
“Then Mary said: ‘My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord.’ ” —Luke 1:46
“The Magnificat is the crown of the Old Testament singing, the last canticle of the Old and the first of the New Testament. It was uttered (or, not improbably, chanted) by the Blessed Virgin, when she visited her cousin Elizabeth under the circumstances narrated by St. Luke in the first chapter of his Gospel. It is an ecstasy of praise for the inestimable favour bestowed by God on the Virgin, for the mercies shown to Israel, and for the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham and to the patriarchs.” [The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, Copyright (C) 1910 by Robert Appleton Company]
Biblical scholars theorize that The Magnificat or Canticle of Mary was not a pure Lucan composition; he probably got it from the Jewish Christian Anawim, the “poor ones” who relied on the Lord for their salvation. These recognized that in Jesus God has raised them up and saved them according to His promise. Luke sees Mary as their representative and spokesperson and so lets her vocalize their sentiments, retouching the original song to suit Mary’s condition.
As it stands, the Magnificat echoes Old Testament traditions in which men and women sang praise to God for His mighty deeds in behalf of His people Israel. In style and in thematic parallels, it is similar to the Song of Hannah in 1 Sm 2:1-10. Both Mary and Hannah are called “handmaids of the Lord” and both acknowledge that God’s purpose will be achieved through the birth of their respective children. Other comparable songs are the Song of Moses (Ex 15:1-18), the Song of Asaph (1 Chr 16:7-36), and the songs of praise in the book of Psalms (Pss 33, 47, 136).
Structurally, the Magnificat has three parts: The introduction in which Mary proclaims the Lord’s greatness and recognizes Him as her Savior, the body which gives the motives of praise (God’s saving deeds), and the conclusion which recapitulates some of the motives and rehearses the availability of God’s mercy in every generation (see “365 Days with the Lord 2010,” ST PAULS).
With the Magnificat of Mary we are, once again, reminded of our Vocation of Praise. Praising God is a God-appointed calling. Indeed, God has formed for himself a people “that they may proclaim my [God’s] praise” ( Isa 43:21 ; cf. Jer 13:11 ). God’s actions, such as Israel’s restoration from the exile, are to result in God’s “righteousness and praise spring [ing] up before all nations” ( Isa 61:11 ). God has also predestined the church “to the praise of his [God’s] glorious grace” ( Eph 1:6 ; cf. Matt 5:16 ; Eph 1:14 ; Php 1:11 ; 1 Peter 2:9 ). The future vocation of the redeemed in glory is to sing praise to God and the Lamb ( Rev 4:11 ; 5:12-14 ; 7:12 ). Doxologies are fitting because they capture what God intends for people ( Psalm 33:1 ; 147:1 ).
Reasons for Praising God. In addition to being the fulfillment of a calling, praise is prompted by other considerations, chief of which is the unique nature of God ( 1 Chron 29:10-13 ). One genre of the psalms, the hymns, is characterized by an initial summons, such as “Praise the Lord, ” which is followed by a declaration of praise, introduced by the word “for, ” which lists the grounds for offering praise, often God’s majesty and mercy. The shortest psalm ( 117 ), a hymn, offers a double reason for praise: God’s merciful kindness (loyal love) is great, and his truth endures forever. Other hymns point out that God is good ( Ezra 3:10-11 ;Psalm 100:5 ; 135:3 ), or that his ordinances are just ( Psalm 119:164 ), that he remembers his covenant ( Psalm 105:7-8 ), that his love is enduring (Ps. 136), or that he is incomparable ( Psalm 71:19 ). A basic understanding in the hymns, if not in all the psalms, is captured in the theme “The Lord reigns.” God’s kingship is pronounced both in his majestic power displayed through the creation of the world ( Psalm 29 , 104 ) and in his royal rule, often as deliverer, over his people ( Psalm 47 , 68 , 98 , 114 ). As king, God is judge, warrior, and shepherd. Often too, praise is to the name of God ( Psalm 138:2 ; 145:2 ; Isa 25:1 ). That name, Yahweh, conveys the notion that God is present to act in salvation ( Exod 6:1-8 ).
The biblical examples of praise to God, apart from citing his attributes and role, point to God’s favors, usually those on a large scale in behalf of Israel. A hymn in the Isaiah collection exhorts, “Sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievement” ( Isa 12:5 ; nab ). Exhortations to praise are sometimes followed by a catalogue of God’s actions in Israel’s behalf ( Neh 9:5 ; Psalm 68:4-14 ). God’s most spectacular action involves the incarnation of Jesus, an event heralded in praises by angels in the heavens and shepherds returning to their fields: “Glory to God in the highest” ( Luke 2:14 Luke 2:20 ). Praise is the legitimate response to God’s self-revelation. Personal experiences of God’s deliverance and favor also elicit praise ( Psalm 34 ; 102:18 ; 107 ; cf. Dan 2:20-23 ; Rom 7:25 ; the healed paralytic, Luke 5:25 ; Zechariah, Luke 1:68 ; the response at Nain, Luke 7:16 ; and Jesus himself, Matt 11:25 and her mother Mary Lk 1:46).
An intimate relationship of a person or a people with God is sufficient reason for praise. A psalmist, captivated by the reality of God’s choice of Jacob, exhorts, “Sing praise” ( Psalm 135 ; cf. Rev 19:5 ).
Praise means “to commend, to applaud or magnify.” For the Christian, praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting-up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heart-felt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving. High praises bring our spirit into a pinnacle of fellowship and intimacy between ourselves and God — it magnifies our awareness of our spiritual union with the most high God. Praise transports us into the realm of the supernatural and into the power of God. “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance” (Psalms 89:15).
There are many actions involved with praise to God — verbal expressions of adoration and thanksgiving, singing, playing instruments, shouting, dancing, lifting or clapping our hands. But true praise is not “merely” going through these motions. Jesus spoke about the hypocrisy of the pharisees, whose worship was only an outward show and not from the heart. “This people worship me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). Genuine praise to God is a matter of humility and sincere devotion to the Lord from within. Unpretentious praise and worship pleases the Lord. The true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:23).
Inspirational story about PRAISE.
An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout “PRAISE THE LORD!”
Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, “There ain’t no Lord!!”
Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for GOD to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted “PRAISE THE LORD. GOD I NEED FOOD!! I AM HAVING A HARD TIME. PLEASE LORD, SEND ME SOME GROCERIES!!”
The next morning the lady went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD.”
The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.”
The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD. He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Praise the Lord!”
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” Ps. 103:2-4
December 22, 2016
It is always a risky undertaking to attempt to read another’s mind. Only the humblest and the wisest can do this with some hope of deciphering a person’s inner world. And the task is even more daunting when we attempt to plumb Mary’s soul, the soul of a sinless human. We, who are sinners, how can we begin to imagine what it is to be sinless?
In today’s gospel reading we hear Mary make two astonishing statements which, uttered by anybody else, would be judged to be crass boasting. “People, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me.” But on the lips of Mary these two statements simply express the naked, unadorned truth.
And here we are given an opportunity to revise once and for all our notion of humility. Taking our cue from Mary, the humblest creature who ever lived, we discover (finally!) that truth and humility are the two sides of the same coin. If you are a genius and you deny it from fear of appearing boastful, then you are a liar! Humility consists in acknowledging the truth, but also in praising God as the source of your brains.
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