Høytiden for Marias budskapsdag (navnet ble forandret til Herrens bebudelse i 1970) feires i år 26. mars, siden 25. mars er en fastesøndag (som alltid har første prioritet). Og i dagens Matitin-bønn leste vi (i de tradisjonelle tidebønnene) følgende 9 lesninger:
Reading 1 – Isa 7:10-15
10 Herren talte igjen til Akas og sa: 11 «Krev deg et tegn fra Herren din Gud! Krev det nede i dødsriket eller oppe i det høye!» 12 Men Akas svarte: «Jeg vil ikke kreve noe og ikke sette Herren på prøve.» 13 Da sa profeten: «Så hør da, Davids hus! Er det ikke nok at dere tretter mennesker, siden dere også tretter min Gud? 14 Derfor skal Herren selv gi dere et tegn: Se, en jomfru skal bli med barn; hun skal føde en sønn og gi ham navnet Immanuel. 15 Rømme og honning skal han leve av på den tid da han får forstand til å forkaste det onde og velge det gode.
Reading 2 – Isa 11:1-5
1 En kvist skal skyte fra Isais stubb, et skudd renne opp fra hans røtter. 2 Herrens Ånd skal hvile over ham, Ånden med visdom og forstand, Ånden med råd og styrke, Ånden som gir kunnskap om Herren og frykt for ham. 3 Han skal ha sin glede i frykten for Herren. Han dømmer ikke bare etter det han ser, og skifter ikke rett etter det han hører. 4 Han dømmer småkårsfolk med rettferd, lar de vergeløse i landet få rett dom. Men voldsmenn slår han med sin munns ris, ugudelige dreper han med et pust fra sine lepper. 5 Rettferd er beltet han har om livet, troskap er beltet om hoftene.
Reading 3 – Isa 35:1-7
1 Ørken og villmark skal glede seg, ødemarken skal juble og blomstre. 2 Den skal blomstre rikt som liljen og juble, ja rope av fryd. Libanons herlighet får den i gave, Karmels og Sarons prakt. Folket skal få se Herrens herlighet, stråleglansen fra vår Gud. 3 Styrk de slappe hender, gi kraft til de vaklende knær! 4 Si til de urolige hjerter: Vær frimodige, vær ikke redde! Se, der er deres Gud. Nå kommer han for å straffe, Gud vil gjøre gjengjeld. Han kommer selv og frelser dere. 5 Da skal blindes øyne åpnes og døves ører lukkes opp. 6 Da skal den lamme springe som hjorten, og den stumme skal juble med sin tunge. For i ørkenen bryter kilder fram, bekker på de tørre stepper. 7 Den glødende sand blir til sivgrodd sjø, det tørstende land til vannrike kilder. Sjakalenes mark blir en hvileplass, hvor gresset gror mellom rør og siv.
Reading 4 – From the Sermons of Pope St Leo the Great. 2nd for Christmas.
The Almighty and merciful God, Whose nature is goodness, Whose will is power, and Whose work is mercy, did, at the very beginning of the world, as soon as the devil’s hatred had mortally poisoned us with the venom of his envy, foretell those remedies which His mercy had foreordained for our healing. He bade the serpent know that there was to be a Seed of the woman Who should yet bruise the swelling of his pestilential head; this Seed was none other than the Christ to come in the flesh, that God and Man in one Person, Who, being born of a Virgin, should, by His undefiled birth, damn the seducer of man.
The devil rejoiced that by his fraud he had so deceived man as to make him lose the gifts of God, forfeit his privilege of eternal life, bring himself under the hard sentence of death, and find in his misery a certain comfort in the accomplice of his guilt; he rejoiced also that God, in His just anger, was changed towards man, whom He had made in such honour. But, dearly beloved brethren, that Unchangeable God, Whose Will cannot be divorced from His goodness, by His own secret counsel carried out in a mysterious way His original purpose of goodness, and man, who had been led into sin by the wicked craft of the devil, perished not to disappoint that gracious purpose of God.
Then therefore, dearly beloved brethren, the fulness of that time came, which God had appointed for our Redemption, our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world, came down from His heavenly throne, and, while He left not that glory which He hath with the Father before the world was, was incarnate by a new order and a new birth new, in that He Who is Invisible among His own, was made visible among us; He Who is Incomprehensible, willed to be comprehended; He Who is before the ages, began to be in time; the Lord of all shadowed the glory of His Majesty, and took upon Him the form of a servant; the Impassible God vouchsafed to become a man subject to suffering; and the Immortal laid Himself under the laws of death.
Reading 7 – From the Holy Gospel according to Luke Luke 1:26-38
At that time the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And so on.
Homily by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Bk. ii. on Luke.
The mysteries of God are unsearchable, and it is especially declared by a Prophet, that a man can hardly know His counsels. Wisd. ix. 13. Nevertheless, some things have been revealed to us, and we may gather from some of the words and works of the Lord our Saviour, that there was a special purpose of God, in the fact that she who was chosen to be the mother of the Lord was espoused to a man. Why did not the power of the Highest overshadow her before she was so espoused? Perhaps it was lest any might blasphemously say that she had conceived in fornication the Holy One.
And the angel came in unto her. Let us learn from this Virgin how to bear ourselves, let us learn her modesty, let us learn by her devout utterance, above all let us learn by the holy mystery enacted. It is the part of a maiden to be timid, to avoid the advances of men, and to shrink from men’s addresses. Would that our women would learn from the example of modesty here set before us. She upon whom the stare of men had never been fixed was alone in her chamber, and was found only by an angel. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip and the angel saluted her.
The message of God to the Virgin was a mystery, which it was not lawful for the mouth of men, but only of angels, to utter. For the first time on earth the words are spoken The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. The holy maiden heareth, and believeth. At length she saith Behold the handmaid of the Lord be it unto me according to thy word. Here is an example of lowliness, here is a pattern of true devotion. At the very moment that she is told she is chosen to be the mother of the Lord she at once declareth herself His handmaid. The knowledge that she was mother of God caused in the heart of Mary only an act of humility.