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THIS HOME IS AN EXAMPLE OF MARRIED LIFE AND OF VIRGINITY

THIS HOME IS AN EXAMPLE OF MARRIED LIFE AND OF VIRGINITY

ST ANNE, THE MOTHER OF OUR LADY

The home of Anne is set before us, giving an example at once of married life and of virginity, the first in the person of the mother, the second in that of the daughter; of whom the one has just been freed from sterility, and the other, a little later on, is to bring forth Christ in a supernatural birth, adapted by a divine artifice to the circumstances of our nature. Therefore, filled with the divine Spirit, her soul happy and joyous, deservedly does Anne cry aloud: “Rejoice with me, for from my sterile womb I have borne the bud of promise, and, as I had desired, I feed at my breast the fruit of blessing. I have put off the mourning-garment of sterility, and put on the joyful raiment of fruitfulness. Let that other Anne [Hannah], the rival of Phenenna, rejoice with me this day, and let her celebrate with me this new and unexpected miracle, which has been wrought in me, as it was in her.

LET ALL THE BARREN AND CHILDLESS SING IN HARMONY TOGETHER

Let Sara rejoice, she who rejoiced in conception in her old age, and foreshadowed my conception from sterility. Let all the barren and childless sing in harmony together at my visitation made to me from heaven in a wonderful manner.” Likewise, let all mothers endowed with this fruitfulness say: “Blessed be he who granted what they wished to those who prayed to him, and who gave fruit to the sterile, and granted her to bear that most happy bud, the Virgin who was the Mother of God according to the flesh, whose womb was a heaven, in which he dwelt whom no place can contain. And let us also offer praise becoming to these very things, that she who was called sterile now stands forth as the mother of a virgin mother. Let us say to her in the words of Scripture: “How blessed is the house of David, from which you have sprung, and the womb in which God fashioned the ark of sanctification,” that is, her from whom he himself was conceived without seed.

TRULY BLESSED ARE YOU, AND THRICE BLESSED

Truly blessed are you, and thrice blessed, you who have borne an infant given you by the blessing of God, that is to say, Mary, whose very name is likewise to be honoured in the highest degree; from whom came forth Christ, the flower of life; a Virgin whose origin was glorious, and whose child-bearing was above all the world. We also congratulate you, most blessed woman, for truly you have brought forth by the divine bounty the hope of all of us, that is, the child of promise. Blessed indeed are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. For the tongues of the godly magnify your offspring, and every joyful word is spoken concerning your child. It is truly fitting indeed, and most fitting it is, to praise her, who received a revelation by the divine goodness, and brought forth for us so great a fruit, from whom came forth the sweet Jesus.

– St John Damascene (Discourse II on the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary), from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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14th JANUARY, BIBLE READING (1 SAMUEL 1:9-20)

THE LORD WAS MINDFUL OF HANNAH.

After they had eaten in the hall, Hannah rose and took her stand before the Lord, while Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to the Lord with many tears and made a vow, saying, “Lord of hosts! If you will take notice of the distress of your servant, and bear me in mind and not forget your servant and give her a man-child, I will give him to the Lord for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head.”

While she prayed before the Lord, which she did for some time, Eli was watching her mouth, for she was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard. He therefore supposed that she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to be in this state? Rid yourself of your wine.” “No, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman in great trouble; I have taken neither wine nor strong drink – I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.” Then Eli answered her: “Go in peace,” he said, “and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.” And she said, “May your maidservant find favour in your sight”; and with that the woman went away; she returned to the hall and ate and was dejected no longer.

They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord and then set out and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah had intercourse with Hannah his wife and the Lord was mindful of her. She conceived and gave birth to a son, and called him Samuel, “since,” she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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13th JANUARY, BIBLE READING (1 SAMUEL 1:1-8)

HANNAH’S RIVAL WOULD TAUNT HER BECAUSE THE LORD HAD MADE HER BARREN.

There was a man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the highlands of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, one called Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children but Hannah had none. Every year this man used to go up from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there as priests of the Lord.

One day Elkanah offered sacrifice. He used to give portions to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; to Hannah, however, he would give only one portion, although he loved her more, since the Lord had made her barren. Her rival would taunt her to annoy her, because the Lord had made her barren. And this went on year after year; every time they went up to the temple of the Lord she used to taunt her. And so Hannah wept and would not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why are you not eating? Why so sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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