Thursday in the Fourth Week of Advent

Scripture Readings: 1 Sam 1:24-28; Lk 1:46-56 

These last eight days of Advent are like a wreath of tightly woven evergreens—Jesus, Mary, John, Jesus, Mary, Jesus, John, Jesus—Joseph and Elizabeth and Zechariah pine-cone accents, the invisible wire of Mercy holding it all together, the Holy Spirit the jewel-lights around it.

Mary in her song is Hannah in hers, our Responsorial Psalm today. Mary is Hannah in 1st Samuel, but she is also the Woman in the Song of Songs: My dove is one . . . . The daughters see her and call her blessed, queens and concubines will praise her.  Mary is the garden enclosed, beautiful in every way, ravishing the heart of the Man; she is also a wall, a tower, thousands of shields, warriors’ arms, hanging upon it.  With more poetic power than even John the Baptist, she is the forerunner of the Christ: not just an ax at the root of the trees and a winnowing fan in his hand, her son is the overthrow of the whole world order. Certainly his “blessed are you who hunger now” was his version of her “the hungry he fills with good things,”  her catechism lessons to her obedient child growing in wisdom and grace.

Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, pure as the blazing sun?

It is the Bride, the Virgin, the Mother; it is the Son she bears; the Church, the monastic community in its lowliness magnifying the Lord prophecy unburdened, the Gospel: God so loved the world.