From a Creighton Student's Perspective
December 22, 2010
Senior, Nursing Major
As we get so near to Christmas, we are often drawn into the mystery of Christ’s birth. It a wonderful and glorious celebration of our Lord, but with just three days to go before our Jesus is laid in the manger we are reminded of His mother and her commitment. In this chapter of today’s Gospel, just before the birth of Jesus, we find the Magnificat or Canticle of Mary. Many have become familiar with this prayer through the Liturgy of the Hours, which the consecrated religious and many lay people participate in throughout the day, where it is read during Vespers each evening.
In examining Mary’s prayer and the readings from Samuel, there is a beautiful connection between the Old and New Testaments. We witness two mothers singing to the Father. Hannah, after a passionate prayer to the Lord, is granted a son. In her joy, she holds true to the promise that she made and offers Samuel to God at the Temple to stay with the priests in service of God forever. What immediately follows this story is the passage we see in the responsorial psalm. She praises the Lord for His power and strength, for He conquers evil and rewards the humble. I struggle to imagine the devotion that would be necessary to give up her only son, for whom she so desperately pleaded with the Lord to receive. Such a faith is what we strive for; to offer the Lord what we hold most dear and to be joyful in our sacrifice.
Mary’s response to Elizabeth echoes Hannah’s praise as she too exalts the Lord for His power and might. She thanks Him with great humility for the gifts that He bestowed on her. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46). We can feel the joy she has for the Lord. A joy that we are reminded of each Christmas. More than excitement for presents or even the family that will be happily making my life much less quiet on Christmas day; it’s an excitement that “He has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever” (Luke 1:54,55). The promise of a savior.
I pray that this Christmas we can find a greater joy for our faith. To live it without fear or reservation; a commitment which I hope to carry into the new academic semester. Reflecting on the past months, I know there is much room for improvement in my spiritual life. But the times where I found myself trying to surrender to the power of the Lord and rejoicing in His love were also the times where I became more devoted to prayer and excited about each opportunity I have to receive His Son in the Eucharist.
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