‘Let what you have said be done to me.’ Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent Year B

Annunciation, El Greco, painted 1596-1600

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Luke 1:26-38 (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.' Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?' 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you' the angel answered 'and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God' 'I am the handmaid of the Lord,' said Mary 'let what you have said be done to me.' And the angel left her.

An Soiscéal Lúcás 1:26-38 (Gaeilge, Irish)

Cuireadh an t-aingeal Gaibriéil ó Dhia go dtí cathair sa Ghailíl darbh ainm Nazarat chun maighdine a bhí luaite le fear de theaghlach Dháiví darbh ainm Iósaef, agus b’é ab ainm don mhaighdean, Muire. Agus ar a theacht isteach chuici dúirt: “Sé do bheatha, atá lán de ghrásta, tá an Tiarna leat; is beannaithe tú idir mná.” Ach bhí buaireamh uirthi de chionn na cainte, agus bhí sí ag machnamh cén sort beannachadh é seo. Ach dúirt an t-aingeal léi: “Ná bíodh eagla ort, a Mhuire, óir fuair tú gean ó Dhia. Agus féach, gabhfaidh tú gin agus béarfaidh tú mac agus tabharfaidh tú Íosa mar ainm air. Beidh sé mór, agus glaofar Mac an Té is airde air, agus tabharfaidh an Tiarna Dia dó ríchathaoir Dháiví a athair, agus beidh sé ina Rí ar theaghlach Iacóib go brách, agus ní bheidh deireadh lena ríocht.” Dúirt Muire leis an aingeal: “Conas a bheidh seo amhlaidh, agus gan cuid agam d’fhear chéile?” Agus dúirt an t-aingeal á freagairt: “Tuirlingeoidh an Spiorad Naomh ort, agus beidh cumhacht an té is airde ina scáil anuas ort, agus sin é an fáth a mbeidh an leanbh naofa; glaofar Mac Dé air. Agus féach, Eiliosaibeit do bhean ghaoil, ghabh sise mac freisin ina seanaois, agus is é seo an séú mí aici siúd a dúradh a bheith aimrid. Óir níl ní ar bith dodhéanta ag Dia.” Dúirt Muire: “Féach, mise banóglach an Tiarna; déantar liom de réir d’fhocail.” Agus d’imigh an t-aingeal uaithi.

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Mollie was a cousin of my mother. She grew up near Tara, County Meath, where the high kings of Ireland once lived and which is in sight of St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, where I studied from 1961 until 1968. Mollie married Jimmy who was from the same area. He worked for the Land Commission.

After the birth of their second child Mollie was bedridden for three years, with a serious problem in her back. Though she recovered to some degree from that she never had good health again and went blind in the last few years of her life.

I had met Mollie and Jimmy as a child when I attended the funeral of Mollie’s mother. During my years in Dalgan Park I wrote them and renewed the contact between the families. I visited them regularly in the small cottage that was their home and always felt the warmth of their welcome along with their simplicity. Jimmy once said to me, ‘We couldn’t be happier here. We have the basic things we need. Lord Dunsany couldn’t have more than we have’. (The Dunsany ancestral castle is near where Jimmy and Mollie lived. The Dunsany family name is Plunkett and they are distantly related to St Oliver Plunkett.)

When Jimmy and Mollie exchanged their wedding vows they had no idea that ‘in sickness and in health’ would mean serious sickness and poor health for Mollie for most of their married life. With their simple, strong and deep faith they accepted what life brought. Their love for each other was something I felt drawn into each time I visited their home.

When Mary said 'yes' to God's message she had no idea what it would bring her. She accepted the future in total faith and draws us into the Love who is her Son, our Brother and Saviour, the Risen Lord.

‘Let what you have said be done to me.’


 
Un ángel vino de los cielos
y a María le anunció
el gran misterio de Dios hombre
que a los cielos admiró.

VIRGEN MADRE, SEÑORA NUESTRA
RECORDANDO LA ENCARNACIÓN,
TE CANTAMOS TUS HIJOS TODOS
COMO ESTRELLA DE SALVACIÓN.

Yo soy la esclava del Señor mi Dios,
la Virgen dijo, al contestar,
se haga en mí según has dicho,
se cumpla en mí tu voluntad.

VIRGEN MADRE, SEÑORA NUESTRA
RECORDANDO LA ENCARNACIÓN,
TE CANTAMOS TUS HIJOS TODOS
COMO ESTRELLA DE SALVACIÓN.

Y el Verbo para redimirnos
tomó su carne virginal
vivió hecho hombre entre nosotros
librándonos de eterno mal.

VIRGEN MADRE, SEÑORA NUESTRA
RECORDANDO LA ENCARNACIÓN,
TE CANTAMOS TUS HIJOS TODOS
COMO ESTRELLA DE SALVACIÓN.

TE CANTAMOS TUS HIJOS TODOS
COMO ESTRELLA DE SALVACIÓN.

The verses above follow the words of the Angelus (below). Here is my attempt at translating the refrain from Spanish to English:

VIRGIN MOTHER, OUR LADY,
REMEMBERING THE INCARNATION,
ALL YOUR CHILDREN SING TO YOU
AS THE STAR OF SALVATION.

The Angelus, Jean-François Millet (painted 1857-59)

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the power of Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to your Word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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