People in the Church are always looking for ways to pray, and especially, I think, for prayer content. I always say, over and over again, that our prayer must be as biblical as possible, so that we can be converted by it. So that the inspired prayers of Scripture can become the prayer of our hearts.
Today, I am doing the little bit that I can to make that happen. Today`s liturgy of Advent joy features one of the most joyful prayers of the Bible. It is in the place where we usually find the psalm, between the first and second readings. We call it the Magnificat, from the first word of this prayer in Latin, “Magnificat”, which means “(my soul) magnifies (the Lord)”. It is the prayer uttered by Mary, pregnant with Jesus, during her visitation to Elizabeth, her elderly cousin, pregnant with John the Baptist.
The Church, from time immemorial, has adopted this prayer as a part of its universal evening prayer, called Vespers. All religious, both male and female, and all the deacons, priests and bishops of the world pray this prayer day in and day out, at Vespers. And I know I speak for all of them when I say that we never tire of it. It is beautiful. What’s more, it wasn’t intended for just religious and clergy. It was intended for everyone in the Church. And so today, I make it available to you. I have made several hundred copies of this prayer, of which only a few verses are present in today’s liturgy. You will find them on the registration table, which is the one on the left as you exit the church through the foyer. It’s a modest, but potentially very important contribution to your personal and family prayer. By the grace of God, may this prayer help you to enter, progressively, into the faith-based joy of Mary, and of the Church.
God bless your Advent and Christmas season with the joy that only Christian faith and hope can bring.