A World of Terror Needs the Mary of Advent

Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the Christian tradition, my tradition, she is rightly honored as the theotokos, the bearer of God. Unfortunately, Mary is far too often white-washed into an American picture of a submissive woman, a passive agent in the Christmas story otherwise dominated by men and single-mindedly focused on a male child. However, Mary should be seen as one of the ultimate heroes of our Christian faith.

It was Mary,  knowing the possible consequences of her suspicious pregnancy (The Virgin Mary on Trial), who said “Yes” to God’s outrageous and dangerous plan of salvation. May we have her courageous obedience.

It was Mary who bore a child whose status, even as an infant, caused her to flee to Egypt as a refugee. It was Mary who braved and survived the brutal slaughter and savage man(child)-hunt of a megalomaniac “king.” May we have her brave endurance.

It was Mary who stood up in a world of injustice and loudly declared that the Lord was going to topple the powers that be, exalt the lowly, send the rich away and fill the hungry. Her Magnificat, the first and oldest Advent hymn, is a political and social subversive celebration that the justice of God was now powerfully breaking into the evil world of injustice. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer recognized, her hymn is “the most passionate, most vehement, one might say, most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung. It is not the gentle, sweet, dreamy Mary that we so often see portrayed in pictures, but the passionate, powerful, proud, enthusiastic Mary, who speaks here. None of the sweet, sugary, or childish tones that we find so often in our Christmas hymns, but a hard, strong, uncompromising song of bringing down rulers from their thrones and humbling the lords of this world, of God’s power and of the powerlessness of men.” May we have her subversive orientation to the work of God’s Kingdom coming through Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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Prayer for the Week (Anima Christi of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

apr14Soul of Jesus, sanctify me.
Blood of Jesus, wash me,
Passion of Jesus, comfort me.
Wounds of Jesus, hide me.
Heart of Jesus, receive me.
Spirit of Jesus, enliven me.
Goodness of Jesus, pardon me.
Beauty of Jesus, draw me.
Humility of Jesus, humble me.
Peace of Jesus, pacify me.
Love of Jesus, inflame me.
Kingdom of Jesus, come to me.
Grace of Jesus, replenish me.
Mercy of Jesus, pity me.
Sanctity of Jesus, sanctify me.
Purity of Jesus, purify me.
Cross of Jesus, support me.
Nails of Jesus, hold me.
Mouth of Jesus, bless me in life, in death, in time and eternity.
Mouth of Jesus, defend me in the hour of death.
Mouth of Jesus, call me to come to Thee.
Mouth of Jesus, receive me with Thy saints in glory evermore.

Unite me to Thyself, O adorable Victim.
Life-giving heavenly Bread, feed me, sanctify me, reign in me,
transform me to Thyself, live in me; let me live in Thee;
let me adore Thee in Thy life-giving Sacrament as my God, listen to Thee as to my Master, obey Thee as my King, imitate Thee as my Model, follow Thee as my Shepherd, love Thee as my Father, seek Thee as my Physician
who wilt heal all the maladies of my soul.
Be indeed my Way, Truth and Life; sustain me, O heavenly Manna, through the desert of this world, till I shall behold Thee unveiled in Thy glory.

Amen.