Luke’s Nativity: December 21

And Mariam said,

“My Spirit praises the Lord.  And the beating of my heart rejoices in God my savior.  Why should I be filled so? Because a King has noticed the humility of his servant!  Take this as a sign to come:  From now on, all generations will count me blessed.  And all the honor is His.  The great and Mighty One did this to me.  His name is Pure and Precious.

His mercy comes to those who fear him, passing from generation through generations.  He has a powerful arm with which he has done mighty things in history.  To those who are prideful in the attitudes of their heart, he shattered them.  He brought down rulers from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.

He filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.   And most of all, He embraced his son Israel, remembering mercy.  It was a promise that inspired him.  A promise to Abraham, a promise to our fathers, a promise chiseled in eternity.”

Mariam remained with Elizabeth for three months.  Then she returned to her father’s house.




Every soul that reaches such a state magnifies the Lord, as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and as her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour.  Truly, the Lord is magnified: for you read somewhere else, ‘Magnify the Lord with me’ (Psalm 33.4). This does not mean that human speech can add anything to the Lord; it means rather that the Lord grows within us.  ‘Christ is the image of God’ (2 Co 4.4), and therefore the soul that acts justly and devoutly magnifies this image of God, in whose likeness it was created (Gn 1.27).  It magnifies that image and – while magnifying it – participates in some sort in its grandeur and is made awe-inspiring.  It appears to reproduce this image within itself by the brilliant colors of its good deeds; and by its virtue it seems to copy the original.

“Mary’s soul, however, magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God because, soul and spirit, she is vowed to the Father and the Son.  Devoutly, lovingly, she venerates the one and only God, from whom all things proceed; the one and only Lord through whom all things exist (1 Co 8.6).”

 St. Ambrose, Commentary on Luke: Book 2.

“1:52. He has put down riders from their thrones, and exalted the humble.

“Great used to be the haughtiness of these demons whom He scattered, and of the devil, and of the Greek sages, as I said, and of the Pharisees and Scribes. But He put them down, and exalted those who had humbled themselves under their mighty hand, “having given them authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy:” and made the plots against us of these haughty-minded beings of none effect…

“1:69. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us.

“The word horn is used not only for power, but also for royalty. But Christ, Who is the Savior that has risen for us from the family and race of David, is both: for He is the King of kings, and the invincible power of the Father.

“1:72. To perform mercy.

“Christ is mercy and justice: for we have obtained mercy through Him, and been justified, having washed away the stains of wickedness through faith that is in Him.

“1:73. The oath which He swore to our father Abraham,

“But let no one accustom himself to swear from hearing that God swore unto Abraham. For just as anger, when spoken of God, is not anger, nor implies passion, but signifies power exercised in punishment, or some similar motion; so neither is an oath an act of swearing. For God does not swear, but indicates the certainty of the event,—-that that which He says will necessarily come to pass. For God’s oath is His own word, fully persuading those that hear, and giving each one the conviction that what He has promised and said will certainly come to pass.”

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke: Sermon 1.

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