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Winged laud would rush to none of all our race,
Save Mary, bound to one of David's house,
That very favored daughter, full of grace,
For God Most High had sought her as his spouse.
Though virgin wonder stored what Mary heard,5
As servant of the Lord, her “Yes” was quick.
And, fervent from the start, she held the Word,
Which burgeoned in a heart a sword would prick.
God's maiden thus proclaimed her marriage vow;
The Holy Spirit came on her in power.10
Oh lowly girl the High One shadowed now,
Fruit-laden times drew nigh to fertile flower!
The newlywed rejoiced then in her Lord
And praised with blissful voice the Rescuer
Who'd raised his humble one to heights unsoared.15
Oh truly God had done great things for her!
Yet she would not know man, but him alone
According to whose plan the Son of God,
Her Lord, was born to take up David's throne,
That he might shepherd Jacob with his rod. 20
Blest womb that bore and breasts that nursed that child,
Blest most the heart which best of all obeyed! . . .
As hosts may we as well keep undefiled,
In whom, Lord, you may dwell as in your Maid.
Cf. Lk 1, 26–38.
1. Winged laud: the angel Gabriel.
2. One of David's house: Joseph.
3. That very favored daughter, full of grace: cf. the angel's greeting to Mary in Lk 1, 28.
5. Virgin wonder: cf. Mary's reaction in Lk 1, 29: She was deeply troubled by his words, and wondered what his greeting meant.
Stored up what she heard: Luke makes a similar comment concerning Mary in connection with the visit of the Magi (2, 19) and the finding of the Christ-child in the Temple. Certainly the angel's message gave her food for thought as well!
6. Her “Yes”: Mary's words in Lk 1, 38: I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.
8. Cf. Lk 2, 34–35: Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
10. The Holy Spirit came on her in power: a fulfillment of the angel's prophecy to Mary in Lk 1, 35.
13–16. Cf. the Magnificat, Mary's hymn of praise, in Lk 1, 46–55.
17. Yet she would not know man: cf. Mary's question to the angel in Lk 1, 34.
19–20. Cf. the angel's prophecy concerning Jesus in Lk 1, 32: The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever.
21–22. Cf. Lk 11, 27–28: While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Jesus' response applies to Mary in a preeminent degree. Cf. also Mk 3, 31–35; Mt 12, 46–50; Lk 8, 19–20.
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This poem is © Copyright 2002 by Stephen Wentworth Arndt, Ph.D.