Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, San Antonio, Texas
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:46-56    a.k.a.  The Magnificat
Mary said:  "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant.  From this day all generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.  He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.  He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit.  He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.  He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.  He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.  
How beautiful is this prayer!  I had not realized until recently that this New Testament prayer is so similar to an Old Testament prayer - the Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10).  I love to think of Mary knowing this prayer, surely she did.  I love to look at the Old Testament and realize that I am pondering the very words that Jesus knew, that Mary knew.  I am reading the same words they did!  It may not mean anything to anyone else, but it is awe inspiring for me.

I live far too much in my intellect and not enough in my heart I am afraid.  Yesterday two women I work with took me out for lunch for a late birthday treat.  The restaurant was absolutely packed, we would have had to wait a half hour for a table, so we sat at the bar.  We got to watch the cooks at the grill.  It was an amazing thing to watch.  They put whole potatoes into a contraption, applied who knows how many pounds of pressure by hand, and turned them into french fries.  And then cooked them immediately - and they were good!  But I was fascinated with how hard on a body that must be!  And the fry cooks frantically grilling hamburgers and the occasional chicken breast - I cannot imagine what a work-out that must be - they were moving at a frenetic pace!  I started pondering these things aloud.  I speculated that their staff turnover rate must be staggeringly high.  One of my friends asked me if I ever stopped doing my job - could I not just go to a restaurant without analyzing work process.  This sounds like she was being harsh, she wasn't.

She was dead-on right about me.  I guess years as a psych nurse does give a person insight.

I used to have a friend who talked about "the 12 inch trip" from one's head to one's heart.  I need to be living more in my heart and less in my head.

God alone can help me with this!


  1. I think you are right about the Song of Hannah as going someway to how Mary saw her relationship with God. She must have been using her faculty of reason to express what was in her heart.

  2. But I think it is your heart that made you notice their hard work, you were looking on them as people, not just means to an end, servers etc.

  3. I think you're being too hard on yourself Mary. I see plenty of heart in your blogs. I'm not sure if anyone has commented on this yet, but I love the photos you share with us at the head of each blog entry. I'm beginning to learn a little about church architecture and aesthetics, and I'm enjoying all the different pictures you present. Churches are beautiful, and the one you have here of the apse is quite stunning. Blessed Mary as the focal point behind the alter with a crucifix suspended from the top of the dome. How different.

  4. Thank you Paul, Ros, and Manny.

    About the photos - I am about to run out of them. I take photos of churches everywhere I go - but I need to go to more places now!