Alleluia: Magnificat

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/081522.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary is taken up to heaven;
a chorus of angels exults.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we honor Mary on the Feast which celebrates her assumption, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

The Catholic Church’s teaching on the Assumption of Mary was promulgated in 1950 by Pope Pius XII in an Apostolic Constitution entitled “MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS (the Most Bountiful God). Having experienced the horrors of a world war, and aware of the ensuing evils of the Cold War, Pope Pius XII looked to Mary for healing for himself and the whole world:

We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ’s Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.

MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS (42)

Maybe, like me, the fact of the Assumption doesn’t matter a whole lot to you. I love Mary whether she was “assumed” or not. But in its time, the declaration of this dogma was important in order to turn the world’s focus toward Mary, a figure of goodness, courage, love, mercy and justice – virtues desperately necessary for healing in the aftermath of war.

Our own world could surely benefit from a prayerful, loving contemplation of Mary.

Mary was a woman so open to God that she enfleshed God’s Spirit in the person of Jesus. She was a vessel of love – for God and for all Creation. By living her ordinary life with extraordinary love and holy courage, she became blessed.

Mary, the Blessed Mother of all of us, can teach us to love, reverence, strengthen and support one another when we pray with her as we meet her in the Gospel.

Elizabeth said:

“Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for God has looked on my simplicity with favor .
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is God’s Name.
In every generation, God has mercy
on those with holy reverence and awe.

Poetry: The Blessed Virgin compared to the air we breathe…
by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ

( I know this is a really long poem, and Hopkins can seem a little convoluted. But the images in this poem are spectacular … even if you just read a bit at a time. It’s so worth it.)

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race—
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemèd, dreamèd; who
This one work has to do—
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.
Again, look overhead
How air is azurèd;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not
Stain light.   Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
Be thou then, thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

Music: Magnificat – Mina

Magnificat anima mea Magnificat
Dominum et exsultavit spiritus meus
In Deo salutari meo
Magnificat, Magnificat
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes
Magnificat anima mea Magnificat
Dominum et exsultavit spiritus meus
In Deo salutari meo
Magnificat, Magnificat
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est
Et sanctum nomen ejus
Magnificat, Magnificat
Dominum et exsultavit spiritus meus
In Deo
Magnificat, Magnificat

Lyrics translation

My soul magnifies the
The lord and my spirit rejoices
In God my saviour
Magnificat, Magnificat
For he has looked on his servant in her lowliness
Behold this blessed shall call me blessed all generations
The Magnificat my soul Magnifies the
The lord and my spirit rejoices
In God my saviour
Magnificat, Magnificat
Because I made a big who is able
And holy is his name
Magnificat, Magnificat
The lord and my spirit rejoices
In God
Magnificat, Magnificat

2 thoughts on “Alleluia: Magnificat

    1. Thanks, Ellen. I did fix that last night, but apparently you got the first version (created by spellcheck whom I must train to be “prayerful”! Thanks for taking the time to alert me.❤️

      Like

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