Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Several years ago I decided to dedicate my life and priesthood to Mary, traditionally called “consecration to Mary.” This spiritual devotion, rooted in Scripture and tradition, has been with our Church for centuries. Why dedicate, or consecrate, one’s life to Mary and not Jesus? Simply because Mary is tbd gateway, the path , to the Incarnation of Christ. As she stood beneath the Cross, Jesus gave her to John, the beloved disciple, as his new mother and Jesus gave John to Mary as her new son.

Mary was truly docile to the Spirit, she surrendered her life to the will of the Father, but my relationship with Mary led me become more prophetic in my life. This, because of her great prayer in today’s gospel called the Magnificant, so called because of the first lines, “My soul proclaims (MAGNIFIES) the greatness of God, my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant...”

This prayer of mary that she uttered during her encounter with Elizabeth at the Visitation, is beautiful in its beginnings; but the prayer takes a decisive turn as she prays further. Her words become prophetic, challenging, and even radical as she prayed that “God has scattered the proud in their conceit and pride; God has cast down the mighty from their thrones; God has lifted up the lowly; God has sent the rich away empty handed.”

These words are hardly comforting to us who are comfortable, have financial resources to live reasonably well, have good medical coverage, and can criticize political and religious leaders we do not like. Mary takes her place with the poor: she lives with the poor....she is poor in spirit and in body. We, in the Western church, have largely “sentimentalized” Mary, domesticated her, placing her on a pedestal.

I experience Mary as my spiritual Mother who gently nudges me out of the many comfort zones I inhabit. May we all have a relationship with this greatest of women, humble yet powerfully prophetic in her relationship with God. May our lives “magnify” God our savior, letting pride diminish and humility shine.

Fr. Frank