Day 24: He will rejoice over you with gladness ... He will sing joyfully because of you
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My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come! … Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.” ~Song of Solomon 2
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals. ~Zephaniah 3
Most blessed are you … ~Luke 1
The training for guides of the stellar children’s program Catechesis of the Good Shepherd invites one to consider the high point of the Eucharistic prayer, when, after the consecration, the priest holds up the host and chalice — the body and blood of Our Lord – as an offering to the Father.
“Through him, with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours forever and ever,” the priest says or sings.
It’s pretty easy to miss these few seconds altogether. But Catechesis guides are asked to go deep into this prayer. The drop of water that represented us, and was placed in the chalice, it’s now become part of our Eucharistic Lord, and we’re offering ourselves, with Him, to the Father.
Because when someone gives you a gift, it’s right and just to give a gift in return. Yes.
Also, because this offering is what the Father wants.
This — you, me, with Jesus — we are what the Father wants.
Perhaps in the spiritual culture of our day, it is hard to grasp that God actually delights in us, rejoices over us. Not just that he puts up with us, or loves us in some heavenly, distant, unfeeling way. But that he loves us, with delight, with longing, with joy.
Today’s readings help us to reflect on his desire for us. Both of the options for the First Reading show us a God so eager for his people, so eager for you.
And the Gospel has the Holy Spirit’s exclamation at Mary (using Elizabeth’s voice): Blessed are you…
God, as Benedict XVI said, “comes as a baby – defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away our fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts and his will …”
And, he asks for that love by giving his love … by delighting in us as a baby delights in his mother, as a mother delights in her child.
Hear in kindness, O Lord,
the prayers of your people,
that those who rejoice
at the coming of your Only begotten Son in our flesh
may, when at last he comes in glory,
gain the reward of eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.