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Thursday, Fourth week of Advent: Predawn Radiance

December 22, 2011

Blessed Thursday!

Here’s today’s O Antiphon:
O King of the Gentiles
And their desired One
Cornerstone who binds two into one
Come and save man
Whom You fashioned from the dust of the earth

Isaiah 2:4:
And he shall judge the Gentiles,
and rebuke many people

(see also Psalm 2:7-8, Ephesians 2:11-13, 20-21, Genesis 2:7)

O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death,
willed to redeem it by the coming of Your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray,
that those who confess His Incarnation with humble fervor
may merit His company as their Redeemer.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I Samuel 1:24-28 (as soon as he’s weaned, Hannah brings Samuel to the temple to give him to God)
I Samuel 2:1, 4-8 (Hannah’s song) “My heart rejoices in the Lord, my Savior”
+ Luke 1:46-56 (Mary’s Magnificat)

Like the first light of morning that foretells the sun’s rising,
our King’s joy precedes His appearance
through the heart of His mother.

Unable to contain the jubilation of the Child within her womb,
she exclaims,

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior
-Luke 1:46

Like Hannah of old (see I Samuel 2:1-10),
Mary celebrates the fruits of God’s joyful love:

His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him.
He lifts up the lowly
(and casts down the bullies so they’re no longer a threat).
He fills the hungry–with good things.
He helps His servant, remembering His mercy,
according to His ancient promise (see Luke 1:50-56).

She, like the vindicated Hannah,
is already experiencing these blessings herself!

my spirit rejoices in God my savior
for He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things for me
-Luke 1:47-49

He as taken a handmaid and made her His queen
–through the gift of holy motherhood.

This is the child for whom I prayed
-I Samuel 1:27

Like Hannah, Mary does not keep her joy to herself.
Hannah gave her son to God,
to the service of the temple, to all Israel
as a glorious prophet (see I Samuel 1:22-28).
Mary, too, gave her Son to God (see Luke 2:22-37),
to His public ministry, Passion and Death, to all the world,
as our Savior.

This gift has come down to us
through the loving hands of Holy Mother Church
(of whom Mary is exemplar, see Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 967, 972).

whoever does the will of My heavenly Father
is brother and sister and mother to Me
-Matthew 12:50

Jesus’ joy must precede Him still,
a predawn radiance announcing His imminence,
through our hearts.

The gift you have received,
give as a gift
-Matthew 10:8

May we, like Hannah, like Mary,
rejoice in the One Who has done great things for us
shining as stars in a darkened world,
holding forth to it the word of life
(see Philippians 2:15).

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