Re the Daily Office Readings August 15 Anno Domini: St Mary the Virgin

The Domition of the Virgin by Ioannes Mokos

The Readings (Morning Prayer): 1 Samuel 2:1-10; John 2:1-12

Hannah’s song looks like the inspiration for Mary’s song (“The Magnificat”). Both songs are notable in uniting the singer’s story with the story of God’s gracious dealings with Israel/Humanity. Seeing in our lives something that can be credibly called ‘story’, seeing a connection to a story larger than ourselves: we’re hungry for that, with the alternative always hovering: “Life is just one damned thing after another, whether it is private or public life” (Toynbee).

And Mary is properly central in so much of Christian spirituality and imagination. Her “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38) articulates the faith to which we aspire; God would form Christ in each one of us (recall Gal 4:19).

From the Gospel reading (the subject, from a different angle, of the August 7 post), after, and continuing, a classic mother-son interchange (vv.3-4): “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” After Lk 1:38 (above), Mary can say that with authenticity; we do well to respond with alacrity.

The Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (the “falling asleep” of the God-bearer) is one of the oldest Marian feasts, set on August 15 in the East in the 6th century and adopted in the West in the 7th Century (detail here and here).

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