Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 3/25

Annunciation by Tanner

Today, March 25, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the moment when, with the message from the angel Gabriel, Mary conceived the Christ Child in her womb. (Note that exactly 9 months from today we'll be celebrating Christmas!)  Of the four gospels, only Luke tells the story:
The angel Gabriel was sent to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.  And coming to her, the angel said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High..
My prayer for today, "Waiting for An Angel's Message," is followed by two musical settings of the story of the Annunciation, one by Sting and one by VOCES8.

Waiting for an angel's message
Sometimes, Lord, my heart 
    aches for a message,
    looks for an angel, 
    strains and listens
        for a much-needed word from you...

My heart waits for you to speak 
    to my life and my worries,
    my fears and confusion,
    my decisions, choices and plans...

My heart waits 
    for tidings of encouragement,
        wisdom and counsel
    to strengthen and empower me,
        to guard and guide me...

My heart waits to hear you say,
even to whisper:
    Don't be afraid... 
    I'm always with you...
    I'll never leave you...
    I'm beside you, before you,
        below you, above you, 
            behind and within you...
    I watch for you...  I wait for you...
        I care for you... 
            I've found favor with you...
    There's a place in my heart for you,
        a place I hold and keep for you...

Send a message, a word, Lord,
send an angel
    to speak to my heart,
    to announce your presence,
    to bring me a piece of good news...

Speak to me, Lord, as you spoke to Mary,
come when I'm not expecting you:
    when I'm confused and I don't understand...
    what I'm not sure what you're asking of me...
    when I'm afraid of what tomorrow may bring...
    when I need you guide me and show me the way...

Fill my heart with your grace, O Lord:
    help me see every angel you send my way
    let me hear every word you speak to my heart,
        that I might welcome, keep and treasure
            your message and promise of love...


"Gabriel's Message" is a Basque Christmas carol about the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would conceive and bear in her womb the Son of the most high God.   Here are two beautiful settings of the song, one by Sting and one by Voces8.
If two videos don't appear below, click here!

The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow his eyes as flame
"All hail" said he "thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady," Gloria! "

For known a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel, by seers foretold
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name."
Most highly favored lady. Gloria!

Of her, Emanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:
"Most highly favored lady," Gloria!




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