The Annunciation

Tomorrow is the feast of the Annunciation. We have a beautiful audio/visual meditation on The Magnificat on our spirituality site. You will find it on the lower righthand corner of the page. Make sure you have turned your sound on for the full effect.

(This prayer, also refered to as the Song of Mary, is perhaps more appropriate for the feast of the Visitation on May 31, but it is a favorite of mine, and I trot it out whenever possible.)

I forget where I first read a wonderful riff on the Annunciation suggesting that Gabriel had been traveling the world for eternity just looking for someone who would say yes, and Mary was the first person he found.

Marian feasts days tend to get people, myself included, feeling warm and fuzzy, which is why it is worth remembering that the Magnificat is about deliverance from worldly oppressors. Here are verses 51-53 from the New Revised Standard Version:

“He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”

This is a pugnacious prayer of vindication, and the implications for our current economic situation are, to me, unmistakable. We foster and sustain inequality, and, as a result, we live under God’s judgment. This is a sin we need to repent.

There are stables full of Christian apologists for runaway capitalism at think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. I nourish the faint hope that these verses make them uncomfortable.

Update: Tobias Haller has a fine poem called “Annunciation and Response” on his site.

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