Voices ever ancient, ever new. Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God 2014.

“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

In commenting on these verses from today’s Mass Readings, Saint Bede the Venerable writes:

“Abiding by the rules of virginal modesty, Mary wished to divulge to no one the secret things which she knew about Christ. She reverently waited for the time and place when he would wish to divulge them. However, though her mouth was silent, in her careful, watchful heart she weighed these secret things. And this is what the Evangelist says, pondering in her heart—indeed, she weighed those acts which she saw in relation to those things which she had read were to be done.

Now she saw that she herself, who had arisen from the stock of Jesse, had conceived God’s Son of the Holy Spirit. She had read in the prophet, “A shoot will sprout from the root of Jesse, and a ‘Nazarene’ will ascend from his root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.” She had read, “And you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, are a little one among the thousands of Judah. Out of you will come forth for me the one who is ruler in Israel, and his coming forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.” She saw that she had given birth in Bethlehem to the Ruler of Israel, who was born eternal from the Father, God before the ages. She saw that she had conceived as a virgin, and given birth to a son, and called his name Jesus.

She had read in the prophets, “Behold, a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and his name will be called Immanuel.” She had read, “An ox recognizes its owner and an ass its master’s manger.” She saw the Lord lying in a manger, where an ox and an ass used to come to be nourished. She remembered that it had been said to her by the angel, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and so the holy one who will be born from you will be called the Son of God.” She had read that the manner of his nativity could be recognized only by the revelation of an angel, in accordance with Isaiah’s saying, “Who will tell of his generation?” She had read, “And you, tower of the flock, misty daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former power shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”

She heard that angelic powers, who are daughters of the city on high, had appeared to shepherds in a place which was in former times called “tower of the flock” from the gathering of cattle—and this is one mile to the east of Bethlehem. There, even now, the three tombs of these shepherds are pointed out in a church. She then knew that the Lord had come in the flesh, whose power is one and eternal with the Father, and he would give to his daughter the church the kingdom of the heavenly Jerusalem. Mary was comparing these things which she had read were to occur with those which she recognized as already having occurred. Nevertheless she did not bring these things forth from her mouth but kept them closed up in her heart.” (Homilies on the Gospels, 1)

O God,
Who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary
bestowed on the human race
the grace of eternal salvation,
grant, we pray,
that we may experience the intercession of her,
through whom we were found worthy
to receive the author of life,
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!