OREMUS: 15 August 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Aug 14 17:00:01 GMT 2010

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OREMUS for Saturday, August 15, 2009
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 78

Hear my teaching, O my people;*
 incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;*
 I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
That which we have heard and known,
   and what our forebears have told us,*
 we will not hide from their children.
We will recount to generations to come
   the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord,*
 and the wonderful works he has done.
He gave his decrees to Jacob
   and established a law for Israel,*
 which he commanded them to teach their children;
That the generations to come might know,
   and the children yet unborn;*
 that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in God,*
 and not forget the deeds of God,
   but keep his commandments;
And not be like their forebears,
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,*
 a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
   and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow,*
 turned back in the day of battle;
They did not keep the covenant of God,*
 and refused to walk in his law;
They forgot what he had done,*
 and the wonders he had shown them.
He worked marvels in the sight of their forebears,*
 in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
He split open the sea and let them pass through;*
 he made the waters stand up like walls.
He led them with a cloud by day,*
 and all the night through with a glow of fire.
He split the hard rocks in the wilderness*
 and gave them drink as from the great deep.
He brought streams out of the cliff,*
 and the waters gushed out like rivers.
But they went on sinning against him,*
 rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
They tested God in their hearts,*

   demanding food for their craving.
They railed against God and said,*
 'Can God set a table in the wilderness?
'True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out,
   and the gullies overflowed;*
 but is he able to give bread
   or to provide meat for his people?'
When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath;*
 a fire was kindled against Jacob,
   and his anger mounted against Israel;
For they had no faith in God,*
 nor did they put their trust in his saving power.
So he commanded the clouds above*
 and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down manna upon them to eat*
 and gave them grain from heaven.
So mortals ate the bread of angels;*
 he provided for them food enough.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens*
 and led out the south wind by his might.
He rained down flesh upon them like dust*
 and winged birds like the sand of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp*
 and round about their dwellings.
So they ate and were well filled,*
 for he gave them what they craved.
But they did not stop their craving,*
 though the food was still in their mouths.
So God's anger mounted against them;*
 he slew their strongest men
   and laid low the youth of Israel.
In spite of all this, they went on sinning*
 and had no faith in his wonderful works.
So he brought their days to an end like a breath*
 and their years in sudden terror.
Whenever he slew them, they would seek him,*
 and repent and diligently search for God.
They would remember that God was their rock,*
 and the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths*
 and lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast towards him,*
 and they were not faithful to his covenant.
But he was so merciful that he forgave their sins
   and did not destroy them;*

 many times he held back his anger
   and did not permit his wrath to be roused.
For he remembered that they were but flesh,*
 a breath that goes forth and does not return.
How often the people disobeyed God in the wilderness*
 and offended him in the desert!
Again and again they tempted God*
 and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power*
 in the day when he ransomed them from the enemy;
How he wrought his signs in Egypt*
 and his omens in the field of Zoan.
He turned their rivers into blood,*
 so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent swarms of flies among them, which ate them up,*
 and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the caterpillar,*
 the fruit of their toil to the locust.
He killed their vines with hail*
 and their sycamores with frost.
He delivered their cattle to hailstones*
 and their livestock to hot thunderbolts.
He poured out upon them his blazing anger:*
 fury, indignation and distress,
   a troop of destroying angels.
He gave full rein to his anger;
   he did not spare their souls from death;*
 but delivered their lives to the plague.
He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,*
 the flower of manhood in the dwellings of Ham.
He led out his people like sheep*
 and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them to safety and they were not afraid;*
 but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
He brought them to his holy land,*
 the mountain his right hand had won.
He drove out the Canaanites before them
   and apportioned an inheritance to them by lot;*
 he made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
But they tested the Most High God and defied him,*
 and did not keep his commandments.
They turned away and were disloyal like their forebears;*
 they were undependable like a warped bow.
They grieved him with their hillaltars*
 and provoked his displeasure with their idols.
When God heard this, he was angry*
 and utterly rejected Israel.
He forsook the shrine at Shiloh,*
 the tabernacle where he had lived among his people.
He delivered the ark into captivity,*
 his glory into the adversary's hand.
He gave his people to the sword*
 and was angered against his inheritance.
The fire consumed their young men;*
 there were no wedding songs for their maidens.
Their priests fell by the sword,*
 and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord woke as though from sleep,*
 like a warrior refreshed with wine.
He struck his enemies from behind*
 and put them to perpetual shame.
He rejected the tent of Joseph*
 and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
He chose instead the tribe of Judah*
 and Mount Zion, which he loved.
He built his sanctuary like the heights of heaven,*
 like the earth which he founded for ever.
He chose David his servant,*
 and took him away from the sheepfolds.
He brought him from following the ewes,*
 to be a shepherd over Jacob his people
   and over Israel his inheritance.
So he shepherded them with a faithful and true heart*
 and guided them with the skilfulness of his hands.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 7:10-15]:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep
as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord
to the test. Then Isaiah said: 'Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to
weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you
a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him
Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil
and choose the good.

Words: Roland Ford Palmer, 1914
Tune: Pleading Savior

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.

SECOND READING [Luke 11:27-28]:

While Jesus was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him,
'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!' But he said,
'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!'

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

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 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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