Sunday, December 20, 2009

Magnificat and the Morning After

The neighborhood was out in force today, and the headlines explained why. (Go ahead and click on it. You know you want to.)

It was up to my knees, as I joined the huddled masses yearning to dig out from under nearly two feet of snow. First a guy next door loaned me a garden shovel. Then "Brian" came along and loaned me a snow shovel. Once I was done with mine, I used it to help "Megan" get started with her car, leaving it to her to finish, and to return the shovel to our neighbor. Everybody was out in the street, everybody was helping everybody. How could I ever move from here?

Inside the house, there was the smell of cassava cake baking, thanks to the oriental market down the street being open today. Cassava is a type of yucca plant that grows in South America, which later found its way to the Philippines, and which is the main ingredient in one of their most favored pastries.

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Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
    My soul glorifies the Lord,
et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo,
    my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.
    He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes,
    henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est,
    The Almighty works marvels for me.
et sanctum nomen eius,
    Holy is his name!
et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies
    His mercy is from age to age,
timentibus eum.
    on those who fear him.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo,
    He puts forth his arm in strength
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui;
    and scatters the proud-hearted.
deposuit potentes de sede
    He casts the mighty from their thrones
et exaltavit humiles;
     and raises the lowly.
esurientes implevit bonis
    He fills the starving with good things,
et divites dimisit inanes.
    and sends the rich away empty.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
    He protects Israel, his servant,
recordatus misericordiae,
    remembering his mercy,
sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
    the mercy promised to our fathers,
Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
    to Abraham and his sons for ever.

Somewhere this evening, in cathedrals and monasteries around the world, they are singing the "Magnificat" -- the canticle for vespers which recalls the visit of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. The gospel for today recounts the story, as if to make way for the newborn King. This clip is from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. It won't be long now ...

Hey, that reminds me; I've still got presents to wrap!

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