The Virgin Shall Conceive and Bear a Son and Name Him, Advent Meditation, December 20, 2016

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Our Lady of Victory Parish, Manhattan
Advent Series of Meditations
December 20, 2016

 

To listen to an audio recording of tonight’s meditation, please click below: 

 

The following outline guided the Meditation

  • Introduction
    • Final week of our Advent Reflections.
    • Spoke about Isaiah and remote preparation, what he announced about the Messiah who was coming and how to prepare for him.
    • Spoke about St. John the Baptist the proximate preparation, what he said about the Lamb of God whose sandal strap he was not worthy to untie and how we’re called to make straight the paths through conversion.
    • Discussed St. Joseph and the immediate preparation for the Messiah, how he received the Message, how he revealed the Messiah publicly according to what was revealed to him privately, naming him “Jesus,” which means “God saves,” as a follow-through of the prophecy about Emmanuel, God-with-us, and pondered ten attributes we can discover in his response to God that we can and ought to emulate in Advent.
    • Today we turn to the greatest figure of Advent of them all, the one not only through whom God the Father announced the immediate coming of the Messiah but who in a sense enfleshed the Church’s Advent.
  • Today I’d like to ponder what she announces about the long-awaited one and then how she shows us to get ready.
    • Part of the Sign of the Messiah
      • While we normally look at John the Baptist as the main Precursor of the Lord, Mary was the more immediate one. She was part of the sign given by Isaiah to announce the Messiah.
      • Is 7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: 11 Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! 12 But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” 13 Then he said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
      • Fulfilled in St. Matthew’s Gospel: Matt 1 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”
      • From the time the prophecy had been given, it was always linked to the coming of the Messiah, because a short time later in Isaiah, there’s the description of a “child born to us, a son given to us,” who would have dominion on his shoulder and be called by others “Wonder-counselor, God-hero, Father-forever, and Prince of Peace.”
      • But they never fathomed that the fulfillment would be anything more than a sign of the God who bears all of those attributes; that God would literally fulfill that prophecy in two ways was so far beyond their imagination: that a virgin would conceive a child and remain a virgin; and that “God-with-us” would actually be God with us, that God would take on our nature and come to abide with us, that he would be “descended from David according to the flesh” (today’s second reading) and the very Son of God. The fulfillment of this prophecy would not just be a sign that God was on their side but actually the signified presence of God at their side. This would make the sign announced by Isaiah a sign for all times.
    • Immaculate Conception
      • Looking retrospectively, we see that God the Father prepared her specifically for the coming of his Son in the flesh.
      • About 14 years before Jesus himself was conceived, she was conceived in the womb of her Mother St. Anne.
      • And as she was conceived, she was preserved free from all stain of original sin in preparation for Jesus’ coming, so that no sin would touch him in the womb and she could be totally free to say yes.
    • Annunciation
      • 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.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
        • Specificity
        • Chaire — Rejoice
        • Kecharitomene — You who have been filled with grace.
        • The Lord is with you.
        • Her fear
        • Fulfillment of prophecy — you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall name him Jesus.
        • God saves
        • Son of the Most High
        • David his Father
        • Rule over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end
        • How can this be for I have no relations with a man? Modality.
        • Holy Spirit.
        • Child will be holy, Son of God
        • Elizabeth has conceived. Nothing impossible.
        • Mary’s response: Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.
        • May it be done to me according to your word
    • Visitation
      • During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
        • Haste
        • Infant lept
        • Most blessed among women, blessed is the fruit of her womb
        • Mother of my Lord
        • Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled
        • Mary’s Magnificat
          • Soul proclaims God’s greatness, not her own.
          • Spirit rejoices in God her Savior.
          • Looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; all generations will call me blessed.
          • Mighty one has done great things for me, holy is his name
          • Mercy from age to age
          • Might with his arm, dispersed arrogant, thrown down rulers, lifted up lowly, hungry he has filled, helped Israel according to his promise.
    • Birth of Jesus
      • In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
        • Wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger
        • No room for him in the inn.
        • Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace
        • Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
    • Conclusion
      • Preparation
      • Reliving Mary’s mystery in Christ
      • Prayer: Alma Redemptoris Mater
        • Alma Redemptóris Mater, quæ pérvia cæli porta manes, et stella maris, succúrre cadénti, súrgere qui curat pópulo: tu quæ genuísti, natúra miránte, tuum sanctum Genitórem: Virgo prius ac postérius, Gabriélis ab ore sumens illud Ave, peccatórum miserére.
        • Loving mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again, to the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before, ou who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.