Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saints Cyrillus (†869) and Methodius (†885), fathers of the Slavic Church and patrons of Europe.


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

Psalm 29, 1-4.9-10

1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
  ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
  worship the Lord in holy splendour.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
  the God of glory thunders,
  the Lord, over mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
  the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
  and strips the forest bare;
  and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
  the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

With language describing a tempest taken from the pagan culture of Canaan, the psalmist exalts the strength of God, which is like a storm. The psalm is punctuated by the expression, “the voice of the Lord.” The psalmist feels the need to affirm the strength of God’s presence in history. The Lord is present like a powerful voice that causes storms: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters…the Lord, over mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (v. 3-4). And he continues in the following verses, “The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox” (v. 5-6). In pagan thought, the storm evokes God’s terrifying power, His anger. When faced with this destructive force, the most common feeling was fear. And certainly the men and women of the Bible also saw God’s power in the unleashing of a storm, but they were convinced that this God, so powerful that He could shake nature, loved His people to the depths of His heart. This faith in God changes everything. The power of the tempest becomes a source of faith and serenity. God’s power, which dominates everything, is at the service of his love and in defence of his people. His irresistible power, in fact, is totally aimed at defeating the power of evil. There is no need to be afraid of it; rather we should cultivate a “holy fear of God” and the certainty of victory. After the initial fright caused by the storm, the psalmist immediately passes to serenity: the storm has not ended, but his way of observing it has completely changed: “The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’ The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever” (v. 9-10). Every time a believer lifts up his or her eyes to the Lord, he or she passes from the storm to tranquillity, from agitation to peace. Indeed, in God we rediscover calm and hope. Agitation and fear make us turn in on ourselves and our powerlessness. Only faith saves.