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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 1, 39-47

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.

She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The liturgical calendar commemorates the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen. The feast is very recent. Pius XII introduced it in 1995 and collocated it at the end of August, as if to complete the mystery of the Assumption, a dogma that opens our eyes on the future of humanity and on our future of believers. Mary is the first of the believers who enters heaven. After her, we too will be embraced by the Lord in the holy Jerusalem. In this regard the Vatican Council writes: "The immaculate Virgin [...], when she had finished her earthly course, was assumed to heavenly glory, body and soul, and was exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, so that she would be fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of rulers, the Conqueror of sin and death." It is truly a great mystery, not only because it reveals to us the future towards which we are all journeying, but also because it gives us a Mother who continues to be before our eyes as a sign of God’s limitless mercy. The Gospel of the visitation to Elizabeth shows the readiness with which Mary responded to the Lord by practising that mercy which she had been the first to receive. Luke writes that Mary, after having learned from the angel that Elizabeth was pregnant, immediately ran to her in order to help her in that delicate moment. We could say that this first gesture shows what it means Christian "royalty," that is serving those who are in need. To be "king" for Christians means to spend one’s life for others. This is what Mary did as soon as she received the annunciation from the angel that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Besides Jesus affirms and lives such royalty in first person. This is the meaning of his well known words: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve" (Mt 20:28). At the end of the last supper, after washing his disciples’ feet, he said to them: "For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you" (Jn 13:15). Mary was the first who lived out the royalty of love. The evangelist writes that she went "with haste," in order to underline the urgency of love. The Gospel always makes us hasten, impels to leave our usual habits, our own preoccupations and thoughts. The Gospel makes us get up from ourselves and pushes us to be beside the one who is suffering or who has need, as did the elderly Elizabeth who was facing a difficult maternity. At the moment she sees young Mary come to her house, she rejoices profoundly, down to her core. It is the joy of the weak and the poor when they see they are visited by the men and women who are "servants" of the Lord, by those who "have believed that the Lord’s words would be fulfilled." The Word of God created a new covenant in the world, an unheard of covenant, that between the disciples of the Gospel and the poor.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord