Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Oracle of the world to come (Simbang Gabi 7)

At the Visitation, the Holy Spirit inspires Our Lady to proclaim in song the praises of the Lord. The song contains very radical images: The Lord has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away. Taken out of its scriptural context this would seem to be a communist propaganda song which advocates the inversion of the social order. And yet, far from provoking a class war, the song of our Lady is actually a declaration of the greatness of God. Mary, the Queen of Prophets, is inspired by the Holy Spirit to sing of the things to come at the establishment of the Kingdom of God. This hymn is a prophecy of things to come in the new order of creation which Christ and the Holy Spirit will inaugurate. It is a prophecy on the manifestation of the true values of the Kingdom of God. Our Lord will later bring this prophecy to fullfilment when he teaches the Beatitudes where the poor, the meek, the sorrowful, the hungry and thirsty, the pure, the merciful and the persecuted will all be called blessed. On that day, he shall lament about the woes of the rich, the powerful, the happy, the satisfied and the adulated. The Magnificat is a declaration of the order of reality according to the point of view of God.

Who are the poor, the hungry, and lowly ones refered to in the song of Mary? Who are the ones who will be satisfied and exalted in the Kingdom of God? The Holy Father writes: Visiting Elizabeth, (Mary) raised her hymn of praise to the Most High for the marvels he worked in those who trust him (Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei, 13.). The poor, the hungry, the lowly ones referred to in both the Magnificat and the Beatitudes are those who trust in God. It is true that those who trust in God are bound to be the underprivileged in this world. It is difficult to trust in the Lord because those who trust in God are those hated by the world. The world hates them because the same world hated Christ first. The world hates Christ because he has proven wrong the very values extolled by the world. The world hates Christ because his teachings directly oppose the lessons taught by the world. The world which passes away in corruption refuses to look at Jesus who alone can give eternal life.

But even if it is difficult to trust in the Lord while living on earth, we still hold on firmly in faith because “Only in (Christ) is there the certitude for looking to the future and the guarantee of an authentic and lasting love. The words of Peter shed one final ray of light on faith: ‘In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. without having seen him you love him, though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. At the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls’ (1 Pet 1:6-9). The life of Christians knows the experience of joy as well as the experience of suffering. How many of the saints have lived in solitude! How many believers, even in our own day, are tested by God’s silence when they would rather hear his consoling voice! The trials of life, while helping us to understand the mystery of the Cross and to participate in the sufferings of Christ (cf. Col 1:24), are a prelude to the joy and hope to which faith leads: ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Cor 12:10). We believe with firm certitude that the Lord Jesus conquered evil and death. With this sure confidence we entrust ourselves to him: he, present in our midst, overcomes the power of the evil one (cf. Lk 11:20); and the Church, the visible community of his mercy, abides in him as a sign of definitive reconciliation with the Father.” (PF, 15.)

No comments:

Post a Comment