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Fourth Sunday,Advent,99

Wordsworth, one of the most famous poets of English Literature and whose poems most of us have read and studied wrote very magnificently about the Blessed Virgin Mary in one of his later poems, known as the Ecclesiastical sonnets. He speaks of Mary as “ our tainted nature’s solitary boast, purer than foam on central ocean tossed,” and “Brighter than Eastern skies at day break.” The Protestant writer and Professor of history at Yale University, Prof.Jaroslav Pelican writes: “ It is impossible to understand the history of Western spirituality and devotion without paying attention to the place of the Virgin Mary.”

Why has Mary captivated the imagination of poets, artists, writers and millions of ordinary people down through the centuries? The answer is given in today’s Gospel: “Hail Mary, full of Grace …you have found favor with God.” Mary is God’s favored daughter, unparalleled in spiritual and physical beauty, the recipient of all the beautiful blessings of God. That is why no century can diminish or stale her beauty or the love people have for her.

Advent is the time we bring to our mind all the great sages of the past who walked on the lane of human history leading to the coming of the Savior. Isaiah with his distant and sometimes immediate vision of the Savior, John the Baptist through his lonely voice crying in the desert inviting people to repent and to be prepared for the coming of the Savior are specially remembered during these days. But more than these prophets and sages , it is the Blessed Virgin Mary who looms large on the horizon of human history as the most significant person who climaxed the story of the Redemption by her “Yes” to the will of God.When she said “ Behold ,I am the handmaid of the Lord.May it be done to me according to your word,” the whole world might have gone into a cosmic dance.

Mary’s consent had ramifications beyond her own comprehension and the unfolding of the events in the life of Jesus has prompted her again and again to say Yes, as she saw her beloved Son taunted by the leaders of the people, at the foot of the Cross, at His death and finally at the glorious Resurrection.

Today Mary asks each one of us to say Yes to God’s will in our lives.We may not fully understand the implications of that Yes, as Mary did not.We may have to pass through very painful experiences, sometimes tragic and unendurable. We may even ask when caught in the pain of very tragic and mind-boggling moments, why should bad things happen to good people. We may wonder why we did Yes to God.

Mary has set the model for us. Her consent to the Heavenly Father did not end in tragedy , but in the majestic and magnificent witnessing to the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ establishing Himself as the Master of the Universe. Mary assures us of the same joy in our lives when we accept the pains and joys of life in a spirit of absolute surrender to God.

The words of the angel strengthening Mary’s resolve should always ring in our ears, when things seem to be difficult, when we feel drawn into the vortex of worries and anxieties , when dark clouds of depression try to take away the serenity of our hearts: “ Nothing is impossible with God.”

Within a few days we would be celebrating the birth of our Savior. Let this be an occasion for turning a new leaf in our lives, be an occasion forgiveness and reconciliation. Let it be an occasion for acts of kindness , of speaking a kind word to a stranger , of reaching out to someone with whom we are estranged , and of pure acts of generosity of the poor. Then we will realize the implication of what Mary has said: “ My soul doth magnify the Lord.”


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