December 17, 2009

blessed is she...

I don't have my Bibleworks software installed at home, so I'm just guessing here, but I'd bet dollars for donuts that "blessed is she..." occurs very rarely in Scripture. I am of the opinion that if a word or phrase is not common in Scripture, especially within any given book, then it is worth paying attention to.

So this morning I'm drawn to the end of Elizabeth's oracle of praise as she says, "blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

Blessed indeed.

The thing we don't get in Year C is any sense of how we got to Advent 4. There is no story of the annunciation, no immaculate conception, no Mary saying "yes." But she did say "yes" and in so doing changed the course of salvation history. Her yes was a yes for the whole world. Her yes lead to the salvation of all.

As I've prepared for five15 this week, I've realized that there are very few representations of Mary from this pre-incarnation phase of her life. She's either holding the newborn Jesus or weeping at the cross. But what we get here is the extent of her blessing, the fullness of her joy, the vastness of her hope.

I commend to you the art of Virginia Wieringa, especially her pieces Magnificat 1 and Magnificat 2 as I believe she captures the joy (all be it in a muted fashion) of Mary as she stands on the front step of Elizabeth's home realizing just how blessed she is.

1 comment:

Virginia Wieringa said...

Thanks for including your kind comments about my Magnificat paintings. Mary's awe and quiet joy were indeed what I was trying to portray. What a powerful experience that must have been for that young woman!

An icon I wrote in a class last year was Our Lady of the Burning Bush, where Mary's arms are upraised and her cloak looks like the Burning Bush. Just like the bush was not burned up when God got Moses' attention, Mary "held the burning coal of God and was not consumed". What a deep mystery!