Monday, December 21, 2009

The Blessed Virgin in the Liturgy

While I tend to be of the school of thought that has the Advent IV Gospel from the middle of John 1, I rejoice that brothers I know have used the opportunities of the lectionary to preach faithfully and powerfully today on the beautiful Marian text of the Mother of God's visit with her cousin, reaching a thematic, even musical, conclusion with Mary's canticle. There are surely more good preachers than I know of, yet there are not enough. Two that I know of, who thus preached today are Fr. Shane Cota and Fr. Larry Beane.

And what a beautiful dimension of Advent. The pregnant Virgin Mother of God, sings her song, a song that echoes the song of faithful Hannah, blessed with the grace of maternity. And she sings it in the presence of holy John, the Forerunner, who hears the Word in utero, and keeps it in his heart, until he is good and ready to preach it himself. And while Mary's song looks back to Hannah and to the Old Covenant, while it is sung with her own glorious story in mind, it also reverberates down through the ages, to this very day, for the Church, typified by Mary herself, has made this song its own. This is done at least as often as the Daily Office is prayed at Vespers.

Mary, and with her the mystery of her Son's Incarnation, is commemorated in other ways as well. At Saint Stephen's, Milwaukee, Mary is commemorated at each Sunday Mass in the regular prayers. In doing so, we honor the One who is her divine Son, and we do so in the hope of imitating the Godly faith of this holy Virgin. What follows is the intercession we use. It is adapted from the one that has been used at a sister parish for years.

Let us commemorate the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints, that we may follow them in godly faith.

Heavenly Father, we give Thee high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all Thy saints, from the beginning of the world, and chiefly in the glorious and most blessed and ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Son Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, and in the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and martyrs, whose examples, O Lord, and steadfastness in Thy faith, and keeping Thy commandments, grant us to follow. Lord, in Thy mercy:

Hear our prayer.

8 comments:

Paul said...

if she truly is "pure and holy" as our Confessions say, why would we NOT want to pray in this way? Thanks for the timely prayer post:)

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Thanks for the note, Paul. Indeed, Mary's purity and holiness is a fact of Lutheran doctrine, and therefore it behooves us to pray it, rejoice in it, and ponder its significance.

Brian P Westgate said...

Hmm. That sounds exactly like the prayer at Zion Detroit. . . .

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

We took Zion's usage, and adapted it for our parish, by converting the pronouns to their proper traditional form.

Rev. Shane R. Cota said...

Your second paragraph is the sum and substance of what I preached this past Sunday. I know I have deviated from the historic lectionary, but sometimes congregations need to hear things.

I do not know how Lutherans who profess to believe in "sola scriptura" can deny that all generations shall call the Blessed Virgin Mary "blessed." Any Lutherans who are offended at such a reference to the very instrument of our Lord's Incarnation are being less than Lutheran, and less than Christian.

Just as the church building is blessed because of the Word that is preached there and the chalice is blessed for the Blood of Christ that it holds, so is the very vessel of our Lord's Incarnation blessed forever. She is the bearer of the eternal Word - higher than the cherubim and more glorious than the seraphim. "Hail Mary, full of grace!"

Michael Larson said...

is St. Stephen having a St. Stephen mass on 26th? If so I hope to be there.

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Father will be out of town, but the good news is that we will have the Mass. If my information is right, Father Gary Schultz will be guest celebrant. The time of the Mass will be 10 a.m.

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

I'm sorry, Michael; I was thinking of Sunday, ie, St. John's Day. On the 26th, I'm pretty sure that Father will be out of town already, and therefore we might not have Mass, unless maybe we can get Fr. Mike to do it. We'll see. If I learn a development on that I will let this blog audience know about it.