Voices ever ancient, ever new. Advent: 20 December 2013.

O Key of David,
O royal Power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:26-28)

In commenting on these verses from the Gospel according to Saint Luke from today’s Mass Readings, Saint Peter Chrysologus writes:

“The Lord is with you.” Why is the Lord with you? Because he is coming to you not merely to pay a visit, but he is coming down into you in a new mystery, that of being born. Fittingly did the angel add, “You are blessed among women.” Through the curse she incurred, Eve brought pains upon the wombs of women in childbirth. Now, in this very matter of motherhood, Mary, through the blessing she received, rejoices, is honored, is exalted. Now too womankind has become truly the mother of those who live through grace, just as previously by nature are subject to death.

She soon realized that she was receiving within herself the heavenly judge, there in that same place where with lingering gaze she had just seen the harbinger from heaven. It was by a soothing motion and holy affection that God transformed the virgin into a mother for himself and made his handmaid into a parent. Nevertheless her bosom was disturbed, her mind recoiled, and her whole state became one of trembling when God, whom the whole of creation does not contain, placed his whole Self inside her bosom and made himself a man.” (Sermon 140)

O God,
eternal majesty, whose ineffable Word
the immaculate Virgin received
through the message of an Angel
and so became the dwelling-place of divinity,
filled with the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may in humility hold fast to Your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia!