Friday, December 19, 2014

Ave Maria

"A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman...who can find her?
 She is far more precious than jewels
 and her value is far above rubies or pearls."
   Proverbs 31:10 

The Annunciation
Henry Ossawa Tanner

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
 and between your offspring and her Offspring.
 He will bruise and tread your head underfoot,
 and you will lie and wait and bruise His heel."
Genesis 3:15

 Christ fulfilled this beautiful promise of God's love with His victory 
over Satan and death on the cross

"And it came to pass,
 that when Elizabeth heard
 the salutation of Mary,
 the babe leaped in her womb; 
and Elizabeth was filled 
with the Holy Ghost: 
And she spake out 
with a loud voice, and said,
 "Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
And how have I deserved
 that this honor should be granted to me,
 that the mother of my Lord
 should come to me?
 For lo, as soon as the voice
 of thy salutation sounded in mine ears,
 the babe leaped in my womb for joy."
Luke 1:41, 42, 43, 44

 Sweet story of Jesus,
 the tender and meek,
Who came in His mercy 

lost sinners to seek,
Sweet story of Jesus! 

though oft it is told,
We love it, we love it—

it never grows old.
-Fanny Crosby

Sistine Madonna

Madonna In The Rose Garden
Stefan Lochner 

 "My soul magnifies and reflects the Lord,
 And my spirit rejoices 
in God my Savior."
Luke 1:46-47

 A  young Jewish woman living
 in the little country town of Nazareth,
 Mary receives a visit from an angel 
who announces that she has
 found favor with God
 and has been chosen by Him
 to be the mother of His Son.

 Mary is troubled by the angel's message, 
 because she has never known intimacy with a man.

 The angel reassures her that the Holy Spirit 
will come upon her and the power of the Most High
 would overshadow her like a shining cloud 
and the holy babe born to her will be called the Son of God.

 Mary's responded to the angel saying,
 "Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord;
 let it be done to me according to what you have said."  
Saying "Yes" to God's plan for her life,
 knowing full well of what could happen to her,
in a society where women unwed and pregnant
were often stoned to death for adultery,
   makes the memorable story of Mary of Nazareth
 one of tremendous courage and remarkable faith.

“Your Name and renown
 are the desire of our hearts.” 
Isaiah 26:8

Illustration by Cecily Mary Barker

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.
Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.
Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

Words By Martin Janus 
Music By Johan Schop 
Arranged by Johann S. Bach
for the chor­us clos­ing his Can­ta­ta 147

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