“Angels We Have Heard On High” As You’ve Never Heard It Before!

by Advent and Christmas, Jesus Christ, Liturgical Seasons

The event that we are about to celebrate brings not only joy to ourselves, but  to the entire universe. As Catholics, and especially in the liturgy, we are invited to a cosmic celebration. What are we celebrating? Two “yes”s; that is, first, God’s “mankind” in deciding to become man. The second is that of Mary, her fiat. The lesson to be learned is that in saying “yes” to God in our own lives, we bring happiness to Him, to ourselves, but also to the entire Body of Christ.

It is thanks to these acts of faith and love that we are able to sing today:

“Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!”

Let us remember, then, that it is also up to each one of us to respond with our own “yes” and thus allow others to join in our joyful hymn.

Finally, I would like to share a text, written by St. Bernard, that is perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of letterature about the moment of Mary’s “yes”. A highly recommended read!

The whole world awaits Mary’s reply

The whole world awaits Mary’s reply You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us. The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life. Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race. Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word. Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

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