Fr. Britto's Blog

Holy Is His Name

As we begin the season of Advent, I would like to propose our Blessed Mother as a model and inspiration in our preparation for the coming of the Savior. In her canticle, Mary sang, “The Lord who is mighty has done great things for me; holy is his name.” May these words become food for our reflection and the basis for our action! Hopefully the attitudes evidenced by Mary in this song will be our own as we await the birth of Jesus.

Whereas both Matthew and Luke present certain accounts of the early life of Jesus, it is Luke who portrays Mary in the most favorable light. According to Luke, Mary is the first Christian disciple who speaks as the representative of the “poor of Yahweh” (Anawim). The gospel writer had an excellent antecedent for this in the Old Testament portrait of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, a handmaid of the Lord who sang a hymn of the Anawim (1 Sam 1:11; 2:1-10). Hannah rejoiced in the Lord because He had looked graciously on her by taking away her childlessness. In the same way, Mary praised God because He had done great things for her. He brought forth the Savior of the world from her virginal womb. Thus, the Magnificat exhibits the features of both the individual and the community hymn of praise.

In this prayer of Mary we recognize many aspects of genuine biblical prayer. God emerges as the Lord of surprises Who takes the side of the poor and the oppressed. A spirit of joy pervades the canticle. Mary is a joyful woman who places her trust in the Lord. She is aware that it is vain to place her trust in princes or in swift horses, as the Psalms suggest. Even as she sang the Magnificat in the house of Elizabeth, she was aware that she still had to face the doubts and questions of Joseph, her betrothed. She was certain, however, that the Lord Who had intervened in her life so marvelously would also stand by her side.

Mary is the model of what we are called to be as Christ’s disciples. In Marialis Cultus, the last significant document that he penned, Pope Paul VI wrote the following words on Mary:

     The Virgin Mary has always been proposed to the faithful by the church as an example to be imitated... She is      held up as an example to the faithful, for the way in which in her own particular life she fully and responsibly          accepted the will of God, because she heard the Word of God and acted on it, and because charity and the          spirit of service were the driving forces of her actions. She is worthy of imitation because she was the first and      most perfect of Christ’s disciples.

In order to celebrate the birth of the Lord in a worthy manner, I would like to propose the following for our meditation and plan of action:

 

      1. Let us recognize the deeds of the Lord in our personal lives.

       I am convinced that there are no coincidences in life, only “God-incidences.” I invite you to take time to                  contemplate the numerous ways in which the Lord has been present in your life. Count your blessings.

       2. Let us acknowledge the deeds of the Lord in the life of the community.

       We, the members of St Paul of the Cross, have seen and touched the greatness of the Lord many times. In           the midst of your busy schedule and your frantic preparation for the holidays, set aside some time to give             thanks to God for what He is accomplishing in our faith community.

        Pick up the gospels and see how “it all began with Mary.” Meditate on the way the Lord has fulfilled His                 promises and on how He continues to accompany the Church in her mission of the salvation.

      3. Let us give glory to God for His goodness.

       Let this Advent season become a time when we give glory and praise to our God Who has entered so                  powerfully into our history. Take part as a family in our Sunday Eucharist, and find time to pray at home. Find        a way to reach ou to those who are the “poor of Yahweh” today – the poor, the weak, the homeless, the                unemployed, the children. If Christmas is all about giving, make sure you give to those who cannot give you          anything in return.

Thus, each one of us is called to write our personal and collective Magnificat. Just like Mary, we must bow our heads in humble submission to the God Who continues to fulfill His promises in our time. Just like her, we need to trust in His abiding presence with us and face the future with optimism and joy. All this will be possible if we can recognize His mighty deeds in our personal and our community lives.

I wish you a fruitful Advent season. May God bless you!

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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