O Virgin of virgins

Daily Reading for December 23 • The Fourth Sunday of Advent

O Virgin of virgins, tell us how shall this be? For neither before you was any like you nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why do you marvel at me? The thing which you behold is a divine mystery.

Although this antiphon, unlike the others, is not addressed to Christ, it is nevertheless an attempt on our part to know and understand that which we worship. It is as though we are asking for a sharing into Mary’s human insight and intuition in order to help us understand. But when all is said and done, God’s incarnation must remain for us a mystery beyond human comprehension. We can imagine such love, but only imagine, for the depth and breadth of God’s love for us is immeasurable—inestimable—by any standards that we have.

Perhaps, by drawing close to Mary, the God-bearer—Theotokos in Greek: she who gave birth to God—we will understand. But no, even then our “knowing” and “understanding” will always remain and require a leap of faith. God with us remains a divine mystery!

From Hasten the Kingdom: Praying the O Antiphons of Advent by Mary Winifred, C.A. (Liturgical Press, 1996).

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