OREMUS: 15 August 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Aug 14 17:00:00 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Tuesday, August 15, 2006 
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God of all grace,
for Jesus Christ, our Light and our Life.
You have given your living Word to Mary, Birth-Giver,
that through the Holy Spirit,
she might bear the Word made flesh,
who brings light out of darkness,
and with your Spirit renews the face of the earth.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 38

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger;*
 do not punish me in your wrath.
For your arrows have already pierced me,*
 and your hand presses hard upon me.
There is no health in my flesh,
   because of your indignation;*
 there is no soundness in my body, because of my sin.
For my iniquities overwhelm me;*
 like a heavy burden they are too much for me to bear.
My wounds stink and fester*
 by reason of my foolishness.
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;*
 I go about in mourning all the day long.
My loins are filled with searing pain;*
 there is no health in my body.
I am utterly numb and crushed;*
 I wail, because of the groaning of my heart.
O Lord, you know all my desires,*
 and my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart is pounding, my strength has failed me,*
 and the brightness of my eyes is gone from me.
My friends and companions draw back from my affliction;*
 my neighbours stand afar off.
Those who seek after my life lay snares for me;*
 those who strive to hurt me speak of my ruin
   and plot treachery all the day long.
But I am like the deaf who do not hear,*
 like those who are mute and do not open their mouth.
I have become like one who does not hear*
 and from whose mouth comes no defence.
For in you, O Lord, have I fixed my hope;*
 you will answer me, O Lord my God.
For I said, 'Do not let them rejoice at my expense,*
 those who gloat over me when my foot slips.'
Truly, I am on the verge of falling,*
 and my pain is always with me.
I will confess my iniquity*
 and be sorry for my sin.
Those who are my enemies without cause are mighty,*
 and many in number are those who wrongfully hate me.
Those who repay evil for good slander me,*
 because I follow the course that is right.
O Lord, do not forsake me;*
 be not far from me, O my God.
Make haste to help me,*
 O Lord of my salvation.

A Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2.1-2,3b-5,7-8)

My soul exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.

My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

There is no Holy One like you, O Lord,
nor any Rock like you, our God.

For you are a God of knowledge
and by you our actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full now hire themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are well fed.

The barren woman has borne sevenfold,
but she who has many children is forlorn.

Both the poor and the rich are of your making;
you bring low and you also exalt.

You raise up the poor from the dust,
and lift the needy from the ash heap.

You make them sit with the rulers
and inherit a place of honour.

For the pillars of the earth are yours
and on them you have set the world.

Psalm 146

   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.

READING [Revelation 11:19-12:6,10]:

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of
his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were
flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an
earthquake, and heavy hail.
A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with
the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a
crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying
out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then
another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon,
with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his
heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven
and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before
the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might
devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave
birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the
nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched
away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman
fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared
by God, so that there she can be nourished for one
thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
'Now have come the salvation and the power
   and the kingdom of our God
   and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
   who accuses them day and night before our God.'

For another Biblical reading,

Words: Roland Ford Palmer, 1914
Tune: Pleading Savior
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Sing of Mary, pure and lowly,
virgin mother undefiled;
sing of God's own Son most holy,
who became her little child.
Fairest child of fairest mother,
God the Lord who came to earth,
Word made flesh, our very brother,
takes our nature by his birth.

Sing of Jesus, son of Mary,
in the home at Nazareth,
toil and labor cannot weary
love enduring unto death.
Constant was the love he gave her,
though he went forth from her side,
forth to preach, and heal, and suffer
till on Calvary he died.

Sing of Mary, sing of Jesus,
holy Mother's holier Son.
>From his throne in heaven he sees us,
thither calls us every one,
where he welcomes home his Mother
to a place at his right hand,
there his faithful servants gather,
there the crown d victors stand.

Joyful Mother, full of gladness,
in thine arms thy Lord was borne.
Mournful Mother, full of sadness,
all thy heart with pain was torn.
Glorious Mother, now rewarded
with a crown at Jesus' hand,
age to age thy name recorded
shall be blessed in every land.

Glory be to God the Father;
glory be to God the Son;
glory be to God the Spirit;
glory to the Three in One.
>From the heart of blessed Mary,
from all saints the song ascends,
and the Church the strain reechoes
unto earth's remotest ends.

The Benedictus (Morning),
Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may

Following the example of Mary's patient love,
we pray for grace to follow God's will.

We pray for the Church.
May it follow Mary's example of patience, humility and trust.
God of love,
hear our prayer.

We pray for women
who serve as bishops, priests, deacons and ministers in your Church.
Open our ears to their witness and teaching.
God of love,
hear our prayer.

We pray for the world.
Teach us to honor the wholeness of God's creation
in both male and female.
God of love,
hear our prayer.

We pray for mothers.
May the knowledge of your love
ease the burden of those who live with poverty or anxiety.
God of love,
hear our prayer.

We pray for women
suffering from cruelty and indifference.
Give us strength to give them comfort and relief.
God of love,
hear our prayer.

We pray for the departed,
joining our prayers with those of Mary.
In the hour of death, save us by the love of Christ.
God of love,
hear our prayer.

Redeeming God,
whose daughter Mary trusted angelic voices,
rejoiced with a song of praise,
and wept at the foot of the cross:
Give us such courage, faith and hope as hers,
that we, too, may praise you, trust you and receive you
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Receiving the Holy Spirit,
bearing the child of God,
pondering the mystery of Christ,
witnessing and following in the Way,
so Mary witnessed to your saving grace.
May we, O God, be as faithful and strong. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from _Celebrating
Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis
1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving, the collect and the closing sentence are
adapted from prayers reprinted from _THE DAILY OFFICE: A Book of
Hours of Daily Prayer after the Use of the Order of Saint Luke_, (c)
1997 by The Order of Saint Luke. Used by permission.

The intercession is by Stephen Benner and uses phrases from a prayer in
_Leading Intercessions_, (c) 2000, Canterbury Press.

The honor paid to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God,
goes back to the earliest days of the Church. Indeed, it goes back further, for
even before the birth of her Son, Mary prophesied, "From this time forth, all
generations shall call me blessed."
The New Testament records several incidents from the life of the Virgin: her
betrothal to Joseph, the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel that she was to bear
the Messiah, her Visitation to Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist, the
Nativity of our Lord, the visits of the shepherds and the magi, the Presentation
of the infant Jesus in the Temple at the age of forty days, the flight into Egypt,
the Passover visit to the Temple when Jesus was twelve, [Matthew 1:16,18-25;
2; Luke 1:26-56; 2]; the wedding at Cana in Galilee and the performance of her
Son's first miracle at her intercession [John 2:1-11], the occasions when
observers said, "How can this man be special? We know his family!" [Matthew
13:54-56 = Mark 6:1-3 = Luke 4:22; also John 6:42], an occasion when she
came with others to see him while he was preaching [Matthew 12:46-50 =
Mark 3:31-35 = Luke 8:19-21], her presence at the foot of the Cross, where
Jesus commends her to the care of the Beloved Disciple [John 19:25-27], and
her presence with the apostles in the upper room after the Ascension, waiting
for the promised Spirit [Acts 1:14]. She is thus seen to be present at most of
the chief events of her Son's life.
Besides Jesus himself, only two humans are mentioned by name in the Creeds.
One is Pontius Pilate, Roman procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD. That
Jesus was crucified by order of Pontius Pilate pins down the date of his death
within a few years, and certifies that we are not talking, like the worshippers of
Tammuz or Adonis, about a personification or symbol of the annual death and
resurrection of the crops. His death is an event in history, something that really
happened. The other name is that of Mary. The Creeds say that Christ was
"born of the virgin Mary." That is to say, they assert on the one hand that he
was truly and fully human, born of a woman and not descended from the skies
like an angel. On the other hand, by telling us that his mother was a virgin they
exclude the theory that he was simply an ordinary man who was so virtuous
that he eventually, at his baptism, became filled with the Spirit of God. His
virgin birth attests to the fact that he was always more than merely human,
always one whose presence among us was in itself a miracle, from the first
moment of his earthly existence. In Mary, Virgin and Mother, God gives us a
sign that Jesus is both truly God and truly Man.
Little is known of the life of the Virgin Mary except insofar as it intersects with
the life of her Son, and there is an appropriateness in this. The Scriptures
record her words to the angel Gabriel, to her kinswoman Elizabeth, to her Son
on two occasions. But the only recorded saying of hers to what may be called
ordinary, run-of-the-mill hearers is her instruction to the servants at the
wedding feast, to whom she says simply, indicating her Son, "Whatever he says
to you, do it."
This we may take to be the summation of her message to the world. If we
listen to her, she will tell us, "Listen to Him. Listen to my Son. Do what He
tells you." When we see her, we see her pointing to her Son. If our regard for
the Blessed Virgin does not have the immediate effect of turning our attention
from her to the One whom she carried in her womb for nine months and
suckled at her breast, to the Incarnate God, the Word made flesh, then we may
be sure that it is not the kind of regard that she seeks. A right regard for her
will always direct us to Him Who found in her His first earthly dwelling-place.
[James Kiefer, abridged]

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