Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chosen to Choose

In the first conversation I had with my Irish priest in Cork, Father Padraic mentioned some of the disputes between various parties during the Protestant Reformation dealing with predestination and free will.

“The Catholic Church has never found that a divisive issue,” he told me, “because we have always looked at Mary as the example of what happens to us all when Christ enters us. She was chosen and she said ‘Yes.’ She was predestined and she freely obeyed. The same happens when Christ enters any of us.”

This is not intended to be a Marian post in particular, not one that goes from her being “highly favored” to the Immaculate Conception or from all generations calling her blessed to the role of Mother of the Church. But since the readings from the Book of Common Prayer for today depict her meeting with Elizabeth and her song of rejoicing afterwards, I remembered Father Padraic’s words over two years ago, and found comfort in the paradoxes of the Incarnation: the Creator is created in creation, we are chosen to choose.

Rejoice, my friends: as the Word has been made flesh in the womb of a virgin, he has entered the womb of creation, sanctifying the ground he treads. The Creator is in the womb, and creation will be reborn. As with her, so with us; he enters the world through his people, and we await his bursting forth from us. Blessed are we whom he has chosen; blessed are we who have chosen him.
Sonnet XXVI of Advent

My soul declares his greatness, for he’ll do
What he has done before: yea, he will stir
His might just as he stirs the barren womb,
And look upon the sojourner like her
Who served in lowliness. The Mighty One
Has done his wonders while our hearts were far
Away: He gives the rain and hides the sun,
He spreads abundance as he spread the stars.
Soon Lebanon will be a fruitful field
And fields be forests; we who dwell in night
Will live in light; the nations will be healed,
The hungry fed, the blind receive their sight.
And blessed is the chosen for her choice
To bear the ripened word and to rejoice.

Psalm 80, 147, 148
Isaiah 29:13-24
Revelation 21:22-22:5
Luke 1:39-56


Christian H said...

Sonnet XXVI?

Em the luddite said...

I once wrote a series of sonnets for each day of Advent taken from the readings from the BCP for each day. That was the sonnet for the 26th day, when I posted it.

Sorry to have been vague... maybe I should have left the title out.

Christian H said...

I was more impressed by anything. I didn't want to assume you'd written it but since you did I want to say that's cool.