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Hail Mary

Hail Mary full of grace,
Mary full of grace
Mary full of grace
Hail, hail the Lord
The Lord is with thee

Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed
And blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, mother of God
Pray for us sinners
Pray, pray for us
Pray for us sinners

Now and at the hour of (our) death
At the hour of death, our death
At the hour of our death
Hail Mary

*******

On Wednesdays I pray with a small group of women committed to bringing Community Bible Study to Roanoke for our teens. We feel our years with them slip through our fingers and see the world vying hard for their attention and their hearts—sports, friends, academics, entertainment, future careers…. the list is endless.

So, we pray.

When we pray, it is clear to me I am surrounded by women of the Word. They pray the Scriptures the way a river flows downstream—easy, free, intrinsic to who they are. They may not know the exact address of a particular verse or story, but they know the Word. They have read it and kept Him in their hearts.

When I read Mary’s song of praise: The Magnificat, I see a young woman who knew the Word:

And Mary said:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…   (Luke 1:46-47)

Just like Hannah:

My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies,
Because I rejoice in your salvation…  (1 Sam. 2:1)

For He has looked on the humble estate of his servant… (Luke 1:48)

For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly… (Psalm 138:6)

…for He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.    (Luke 1:49-50)
 
O LORD God of hosts,
Who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
With your faithfulness all round you?  (Psalm 89:8)
 
There is none holy like the LORD:
For there is none besides you,
There is no rock like our God.     (1 Sam. 2:2)
 
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
With my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations  (Psalm 89:1)

Mary’s song of praise is one long reference to Scripture. I wonder then, how was Mary raised that she had these words well up from her soul? What sort of faith-filled, Word-padded cocoon did her parents create in their home?

I have read that though not always the norm, it was not uncommon for Hebrew girls to sit in on the boys’ lessons with the rabbis and religious teachers of the day…. once their daily work was done, of course. I wonder if Mary was one of those fortunate girls? If her father encouraged her to sit with the boys during times of teaching?

And I wonder about Mary’s mother. I assume the majority of Mary’s childhood days were spent with her mother learning her future work, modeling her mother’s steps in every task. How did Mary’s mother help shape the humble spirit which caught God’s attention?

Mary’s Scripture-song continues (again, in bold):

He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
He has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;    (Luke 1:51-52)
 
 
Talk no more so very proudly,
Let not arrogance come from your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
But the feeble bind on strength.      (1 Sam. 2:3-4)
 
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap…   (Psalm 113:7)
 
 
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.     (Luke 1:53-55)
 
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.     (1 Sam. 2:5)
 
You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from the farthest corners,
Saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off.”     (Isa. 41:9)
 
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
To the house of Israel
All the ends of the earth have seen
The salvation of our God.      (Psalm 98:3)

Whatever Mary’s childhood looked like, it must have been one engulfed in God’s Word. Surely, her parents took seriously God’s command to His people back in Deuteronomy:

You shall teach [the Word] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”   (Deut. 6:7-9)

3rd week--Rejoice!

3rd week–Rejoice!

Not only did Mary accept her assignment, she rejoiced in the Word for her new life’s role. The legacy of faith diligently planted by her parents bubbled forth at a time of overwhelming uncertainty; maybe not because of the saturated-in-the-Word faith of her parents…. but I can’t help wondering how much their saturated-in-the-Word faith contributed to Mary’s condition of being favored among women.

I will keep praying on Wednesdays with my friends. And as I pray I will rejoice in the Word, trusting that as we saturate our homes in the Scriptures faith-filled living will be passed on, saturating the lives of generations next.

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