10 November 2023

The LORD be with you [2]

 And every Mass starts publicly with the priest turning to the plebs sancta Dei and greeting them with "Dominus vobiscum": "YHWH [be] with you". And, before the Canon, priest and people establish contact with these same words.

The suitability of this is emphasised by the plain and historical fact that the God who wonderfully created the dignity of the Human Substance yet more wonderfully restored it when Gabriel appeared bearing this greeting, saying exactly these words (in the singular: Ho Kurios meta sou) to a Girl in Nazareth: 'YHWH be with you'. S Luke points out to us that what surprised Mary was, apparently, not the sudden appearance of an Archangel ... as you might have expected ... whatever Gabriel may have looked like ... but what he  said: epi toi logoi dietarakthe ... potapos eie ho aspasmos houtos ....

But, first, a vocative: Khaire kekharitomene, 'Hail Graced One'. We mut include here Luke 1:30: do not fear, for you have found grace, favour (heures gar kharin) with God. Ruth said that she has found grace (heuron kharin) and prayed that she might find grace (heuroimi kharin). Ruth is told 'me phobou', do not fear; the same words that are used to Mary; she describes herself as your 'doule', 'slave'; Mary uses the same word for herself. And the word 'eulogemene' used by Elizabeth ('Blessed') is used in this passage in Ruth. 

S Luke's narrative is shot through and through with vocabulary and turns of phrase from the Septuagintal translation of the Hebrew Bible; the word 'pastiche' almost suggests itself to me.

But the thought I would like to leave with you is this: What a lot you are carrying with you, each time you pray the Hail Mary! And perhaps, mentally, you should capitalise the crucial phrase as "the LORD is with thee". 

When Elizabeth wonders why it is that the 'Meter tou Kuriou mou' should come to her, surely we have here Theotokos?

Ave Maria is (at least) as 'heavy' theologically as the Oratio dominica.


Mary Kay said...

Inspiring thoughts as we approach Advent. Thank you, Father!
Mary K Jones

El Codo said...

Father…when you get to it, you are glorious. I hope that you are making good progress in recovery.