November 2020: Lectio Divina
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His mercy reaches from age to age (Luke 1:50)
Lectio: what the Word says in itself…
This scripture verse is from what is known as the Magnificat. It is the personal prayer of Mary on the occasion of her meeting with Elizabeth. It is a universal prayer that is used by many denominations. Mary’s prayer-song delights in ‘the Almighty who has done great things for me.’ She expresses a hope in the liberating power of God for the lowly.
Meditatio: what the Word says to me/
The Magnificat connects us with our relationship with God. With Mary, the Church thanks God for his grace. It is a prayer that leads us to ask for a fuller outpouring of his grace as we fall short of what God wants us to be. His mercy reaches from age to age is a prayer that can be applied to me, to a family, to a parish, to a diocese, to the Church and to the world. In what way has God looked upon me, on us, on the Church and on the world as it is collectively in lockdown due to the coronavirus?
What are the ‘great things’ God has done? How has he ‘shown the power of his arm’? Who are the ‘princes’ he has ‘pulled down from their thrones’? How has he ‘filled the hungry with good things’? No-one can gloat when they pray the Magnificat because there is a reference to the ‘proud of heart’.
Whenever we are arrogant, elitist, racist, sexist, cynical or indifferent, we need ‘routing’, ‘pulling down’ and ‘sending away empty.’ It is a prayer of radical conversion for myself, the Church, family, parishes, communities and for our run away, throw away, hideaway world? ‘His mercy reaches from age to age’ is a kind blessing as well as a gospel call to repent, renew and rejoice.
Oratio: what the Word leads me/ us to say…
We know many Mary’s who as parents care for their children in all sorts of difficult circumstances: All the Mary’s who show courage and resilience in the face of oppression and alienation. All the Mary’s who are steadfast in love as they meet sickness, weakness, depression and jealousy. In the name of all these Marys, we thank God who proclaims his greatness through them.
Contemplatio: being transformed by the Word…
All generations will be blessed. This is a graced gift and promise. When we feel powerless, ‘his mercy reaches from age to age.’ We too easily forget the ‘power of your arm’ that guides your loving plan for each one of us
Actio: Putting the Word into practice…
Let us anchor our lives in the gift of God’s mercy and give genuine expression to it in thought, word and deed with one another. Let us have tangible signs of the ‘quality of mercy’ that reflect a Gospel way of inclusion, hospitality, justice and a daily witness to the fruits of the Spirit.