More “Blah, Blah, Blah” from Msgr. Mark
As part of my morning routine … after rising and showering and sitting for my morning prayer time, I turn on the computer, looking first to see what may have come in overnight in emails (yes, there are people who write emails in the middle of the night), and then turning to browse several news websites (the BBC and my home town paper, The La Crosse Tribune, for example) and a couple of churchy blogs. I don’t drink coffee, but it’s how I get revved up for the day.
In one the sites, I recently came across the following, a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, reprinted from a German Catholic hymnal. Here is the translation offered by the blogger:
O blessed Virgin and Mother of God,
how very little and lowly
were you esteemed,
and yet God looked upon you
with abundant graces and riches
and has done great things for you.
Indeed, you were not at all worthy of this.
But high and wide, above and beyond your merit,
is the rich, overflowing grace of God in you.
How good, how blessed are you
for all eternity, from the moment
you found such a God!
It’s quite lovely, I thought. It reads like the typical work of a committee in the early 21st century, with its bending over backward to emphasize the utter dependence of Mary upon the saving grace of God. The blogger noted how ecumenical sensitivities seem a big concern. Not only does the text make references to Mary’s own words in the Gospel of Luke (check it out against the text of the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55), but it seems written as if trying hard to meet the objections Protestants have with historic Catholic Marian piety.
Having set the hook, the blogger then pulled me in by revealing who composed it. The author? Martin Luther, 1521 – four years after the “95 Theses.” Sometime we can think we know all about other folks, other religions, and how they think. On this week in which we celebrate a major feast in honor of Mary—this Tuesday’s celebration of the Assumption—it is good to see how wide and broad God’s Church is. In this year when we will this fall mark 500 years since the start of the Reformation (with all its good and not-so-good fruit), join me in praying that all of God’s children will recognize each other more and more as brothers and sisters.