Thursday, August 14, 2014

St. Mary's Day: Bearing Christ in every Christian Life

A Hymn of Mary


Come, ye faithful

Loud exult, with joy exceeding,


Monarch's Monarch,

From a Virgin-womb proceeding,

mighty wonder!

Angel of the Counsel, here

Sun from star, he doth appear,

Born of maiden:

Sun that never knoweth night,

Star forever gleaming bright,

Lustrous ever.

As a star its kindred ray,

Mary doth her Child display,

Like in nature:

Still undimm'd the star shines on,

And the Virgin bears a Son,

Pure as ever.

Lebanon his cedar tall

To the hyssop of the wall

Now conformeth:

Word on high, he doth assume

Human flesh in Mary's womb,

God incarnate.

No longer then delay;

Doubt not what legends say;

Why be cast away,

A race forlorn?

Turn and this Child behold--

That very Son of old

In God's writ foretold,

A Maid hath borne.

V. The holy Mother of God has been exalted.

R. Over choirs of Angels, into the heavenly kingdom.

This hymn expresses beautifully the character of the Church’s devotion to the Holy Theotokos. Her purity, peace, and trust set an example for us of what faithful discipleship is like. Her role as the essential human collaborator with God cannot be downplayed or diminished without deeply disfiguring the Christian faith, for she points the way for all of us: we must collaborate with God’s grace in order to bear Christ into the world in the unique way each of us is able. This is the way in which we "incarnate" God's work in and through us. Mary is the icon of the Church's response to its Lord, from the Annunciation through the Pentecost, and beyond.

The Anglican Tradition has found the balance in honoring St. Mary the Virgin as the “First among the Saints” and yet remaining firmly grounded in Scriptural language regarding her witness and role. We are blessed to bear this message into the world on her great Feast Day, to honor her every day in our prayers to God, and—perhaps most significantly—to undertake to live as she did: faithfully, with courage, and always bearing forth Christ Jesus in our words, actions, and prayers.  In so doing, we join her in the eternal song of praise to God offered by all the Faithful through the ages.

The Collect for the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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