Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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 Luke 1.39-56

“He has looked on his lowly handmaid”

When the angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that God had chosen her to be the mother of his Son, she replied with a humble declaration: “behold the handmaid of the Lord”. By using the word “handmaid”, Mary gives us an insight into her own spirituality. She aligns herself with the ‘poor ones of God’, the ‘anawim Yahweh’. This is not a description of financial status. The term expresses rather an attitude of mind, an attitude of willing openness to God, of humble attentiveness to the word of God, and of total trust and complete dependence on God. Her whole life is a constant ‘yes’ to God; nothing is held back.

This is the spiritual attitude displayed in Mary’s Magnificat in today’s scene. Elizabeth has blessed Mary “who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled”, and Mary in her turn glorifies the greatness of God. For, she declares, God “has looked upon his lowly handmaid”, and because of what he has done “all generations shall call me blessed”. She praises the holiness of God, his mercy and his power. She sings of the goodness of God, of his everlasting care for the lowly and the hungry, and of his rejection of those guilty of oppression. She expresses her confidence in God who is mindful of his promises for ever.

Today, with Mary, may our spirits “exult in God our saviour”. May we share her attentiveness to God’s word, and her openness to his will. With her may we too recognise and trust in the goodness of God, and rejoice in his mercy and love. May we find that our own true richness lies in being, like her, of the ‘anawim Yahweh’