Recognize the Greatness of God
First, My soul magnifies the Lord. And that, by the way, is the literal translation of both the Greek and the Church's official Latin. Why, indeed, this hymn is called the Magnificat. Hold on to your Catholic vocabulary. I'm not even sure, I really am not. I didn't check it whether Webster's Third International Unabridged has Magnificat as one of the words that are defined or magnify. Well maybe if they have the word magnify, you know, you know for people whose sight is weak, use a piece of glass to magnify. O how we have cheapened the Treasury of Divine Wisdom. Magnificare, of course means to make magnum, make big. Meaning what? Is it possible to magnify something which is objectively small? Yes. But in the Church's vocabulary, when Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord what she meant was, my soul recognizes the greatness of the Lord. There is none greater than God. What a cheap almost blasphemous comparison. No one greater than the Lord. This is God! Talk about greatness - except for Him, there wouldn't be anyone else! That's pretty great! To magnify, therefore, means to recognize the greatness of God. But in order to magnify as Mary did, our minds must first recognize who God is.
To Magnify the Lord means, first, that my mind knows Who God is! Any comparison I make, I'm sure we'd be safe. Most people know a hundred times more about creatures and the things of this world especially that one delightful, oh, beautiful creature that has our name. A hundred times more, a thousand times more than people know about God. But then, if magnifying the Lord begins in the mind, recognizing His greatness, it is expressed first by the will, in loving this Great God and then in telling others about Who God really is.
To magnify the Lord means to praise
To magnify the Lord means to honor the Lord.
To magnify the Lord means to obey the Lord.
To magnify the Lord means to admire the Lord.
Joy in God
Mary continues: My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Just as most people, most of the time magnify everybody else, praise everybody else and are just looking around to have somebody praise me and then life becomes worth living because somebody has complimented us. So, even as people spontaneously praise, admire and the word magnify everyone else, beginning with themselves before it even dawns on them to magnify or praise God. So people will find joy. You name it. What we weak human creatures can find enjoyment in make the angels, symbolically speaking, shake their heads and if they could shed tears. What should be, we're making a retreat, we're meditating on the Magnificat and we're reflecting on Our Lady as our model. And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! She does not say; and my spirit rejoices in myself or my spirit rejoices in you, dear Elizabeth. Now, God does not forbid us to find satisfaction in creatures, but every satisfaction we experience in creatures must be - if we're going to be truly followers of Mary - must be founded on the joy we find in God. Every satisfaction, every happiness, every pleasure that creatures give us must, I repeat, must be only a means to an end. What's the end? To find joy in God. No creature satisfaction dare be an end in itself. We are therefore, mainly, to rejoice in God. For the gifts He has given us!
That Our Sins Have Been Forgiven
Mary she said, My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. I thought Mary was conceived without sin. Did Mary have to be redeemed? Yes! The language the Church uses she was pre-redeemed, pre-saved. We are needless to say, are post-redeemed or post-saved. Meaning what? Christ first had to be born of Mary and then die on the Cross for us to be redeemed. But Mary had no difficulty in saying, My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. What perfect synonym could Mary have used? She could have said, My spirit rejoices in God my Jesus: That's what Savior means. In my years in the Ministry I've dealt with, I want to say, more than my share of sinners especially if you go out in search of them. When you call a sinner up, on occasion I've had them hang up. So what do I do? I call back. Can I come over? What for? Look, what for, I just want to, to meet you. I hear you are a nice person. I use what we call a broad mental reservation. The joy that comes from the realization that our sins have been forgiven. We go on.
Mary's Joy Came from Her Profound
This is Mary speaking. Because He has regarded the lowliness of His Handmaid, for behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed. Mary's joy was over God's goodness to her. Recognized, watch it, that she was nothing in her own eyes. Mary's humility was not a blind humility. She realized the graces that she had been given by God. In other words, Mary's joy first came from her profound humility in recognizing how blessed and generous God was to her. Can we rejoice over the graces God gives us? Sure! Ah! But the secret is, we never give ourselves credit. Am I clear? I could exhaust my own vocabulary, talk for the next century and I could not begin to exhaust the importance of a humility that sees itself as nothing, and that praises God for everything that we have and possess. Moreover, Mary foresaw how all future generations would praise her because she was blessed by God. We're going to touch on this and this, as you see, will be one of the longer meditations. The secret is not to be blind either to the natural talents that God gave us or to the supernatural graces He confers. But then, if we want God to use us and He will, we must remain absolutely humble. As I know you've heard before, humilis, in Latin comes from the noun humus which is dirt! Nothing! And let me tell you, if we are genuinely humble, God will people walk over us and I mean what I'm saying, treat us as dirt. Look, I'm as human as you are. I want to be respected and accepted and loved as much as you do. But if I'm truly humble and I expect God to use me as He surely used Mary as a channel of His grace, the key is to be - and I use the adjective - dirt humble. We go on.
Humility Is Not Blind
Because He Who is Mighty has done great things for me and Holy is His Name. We repeat, humility is not blind. Let me tell you, the secret of genuine humility is not in not realizing who I am or what I've got. The secret of Humility is not giving myself credit for whatever I've got. Am I clear? That's the key. In the last several months in the fall season, I've been giving lectures in different cities and people want to sell some of the books that this sinner has published. So depending on how many bought books, I didn't sell any of my books, other people did but I was asked to, I wasn't sure quite what to do. I figure you don't endorse a book, you don't sign a book, you autograph. I say this and I trust the Lord is helping me say the right thing. I've got to keep telling myself as I autograph these books, Hardon, you're a fool, you're an idiot! Except for God's mercy you should be in hell! You know what I'm trying to get across? We recognize what God has given us. But we make sure that, with Mary, we identify the source of whatever we have. And we never act as though whatever we possess is our own. Never! Never!
Holiness Is Selfless Charity
It was for this reason that Almighty God had done such great things for her that Mary said that God is Holy. Over the centuries the Church has come up with many definitions of holiness. Here is Mary's definition of holiness: God is Holy because He is totally unlike anyone and anything else. But how is God so totally different from everyone and everything else? Because of His utterly, selfless Goodness. Even we, no matter how generous we may be to others, do we actually benefit by our love of others? Do we? Yes! Does God benefit from His Love for us? No! Holiness is selflessness. Holiness is selfless charity, Mary's definition of Holiness in God. Oh! How much work we all have to do and those of us who are older almost wish we could start all over again. Selfless Charity is both the source and the definition of holiness. We go on.
Are to Fear God
For generation upon generation is His Mercy to those who fear Him Divine Mercy that is what Mary is talking about. He is, especially His Love for sinners and, in Mary's language, the condition for obtaining mercy is to fear the Lord. How this needs saying nowadays. When, I don't have to guess I know, in one textbook or series of textbooks in religion, nominally Catholic religion, after another and have a hard time finding even mention of sin or fearing God. Everything is love. Love this and love that. I've had people call me and have people write to me, Father, I've just buried whoever they just buried a near relative. A priest gave a short homily at the funeral. Not one word of praying for the soul of the departed! We are to fear God! And Mary tells us, we'll obtain mercy from God in the degree to which we fear God. When you think of all the things that we fear, let's make sure and let's examine our consciences, is a laudable fear of God one of the strong motives in my life? Now immediately we distinguish between what the Church calls filial fear (fearing to offend a loving God) and servile fear (fearing to be punished by God). But then this servile fear can be holy. If the fear is authentic. I don't fear God just because I'm afraid of being punished. All true Fear of God is founded on the Love of God Whom I fear to offend. We continue.
The Root of All Sin Is Pride
He has shown might with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. Let's see what Mary is telling us. God's Omnipotence is not only in creation and bringing the world out of nothing into being. God's Omnipotence is also constantly shown in His justice toward sinners. The root of all sin is pride. The root of all pride is in the heart. And the root of all pride in the heart is self-conceit. What are we being told? If we want to please God and reach the Heaven for which we were made, we must be more conscious than any of us are (beginning with the speaker) the constant, spontaneous tendency of each one of us is and I�ve got a series of words beginning with self. Self-satisfaction, gosh I did well! Self-admiration and the most dangerous temptation to self-admiration are not mirrors made of glass with silver so we can see our faces. Self-admiration in the mirror of our own minds, not admiring from one side, from another side, ah! Self-preoccupation. I believe every language has the expression to describe a kind or generous person. We say that he or she is thoughtful. What do you mean, thoughtful? Thoughtful of others because we assume that everyone is constantly thoughtful of himself. Pre-occupied with self. Self-indulgence. Self-seeking. Self-interest. Self-conversation. We even have a word for it, monologue or soliloquy. The hardest and most important examination of our conscience is examination of our hearts, in their constant, spontaneous, pre-occupation with ourselves.
Humble People Are Channels of God's Grace
Seventh. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the humble.This is the first of two comparisons that Mary makes between God's dealings His dealings with the proud and His dealings with the humble. He humiliates the proud in this life to bring them back to Himself. Anytime you hear or read about a sinner being in trouble, thank God! Recite the Magnificat. Because maybe, just maybe, the sinner will come back to his senses. But then, if the sinner does not come back to his senses in this life, then God humiliates the proud in the life to come - punishment in Purgatory and even in Hell. And we should all legitimately ambition not having to go to Purgatory. How can you avoid it? By working, slaving, digging, exhausting yourself and removing pride from your hearts. But then, Mary says, He exalts the humble. How does God exalt the humble? In this life, He uses the humble to achieve His purposes. Only humble people are channels of God's grace. We shall be used by God to bring grace to others in the measure of our humility. In the life to come, that's what Heaven is all about. Heaven is the home for the humble. Pride is in hell. Only humility reaches Heaven.
Whole Human Race Is Hungry
Eighth. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. There is a profound sense in which we can say that the whole human race is hungry, hungry for love, hungry for acceptance, hungry for being thought well of, hungry for being spoken to. The hungry will be filled with good things provided they are humble and look finally to God to satisfy their hunger. Let me tell you, if you expect human beings to satisfy you in this life, you�re following a mirage. They won't. They just don't. God fills those who humbly seek to be filled by Him with Faith, with Grace, with Peace and with True Interior Happiness. The rich, Mary says, He sends away empty. This does of course include the materially wealthy. They must share their wealth. Otherwise, as I've told enough of them, you�re going to go to hell. That, by the way, is Mother Teresa's philosophy. She doesn't quite use that language but she tells rich people - if you wan't to save your souls, share what you've got! But the rich people are also - in Mary's vocabulary - those who are rich in their own eyes, who think they ve got, they I've got it made and lack the humility of recognizing that whatever they have is from God. They're going to be deprived, first, of true happiness in this life and then of Heaven in the life to come, unless, they become humble before their body dies .
God Is Merciful to
His Chosen People
Ninth. He has given help to his servant Israel mindful of His Mercy. This Israel - of which Mary is speaking - was, first of all, the chosen people. They were so often unfaithful as we read in the Old Testament. When the Messiah came, they rejected Him. Yet, God chose to become Man from among the chosen people. Mary was a Jewish woman. God�s plan, as we know, was to use the Jews to evangelize the rest of the world. They rejected Him so He did not use them. But this Israel is also the new Israel, we belonging to Christianity. God is constantly providing His grace. Specially, we are the spoiled children of God. And the foundation of our being the really chosen people is our Faith in His becoming Man, provided we believe clearly and strongly our sins are removed. Naturally we are afraid and the closer we approach eternity, the more frightened we become, naturally. But this where supernatural grace should overcome our nature, keep reminding ourselves in Mary's words, that God is Merciful to His chosen people. We are in His Friendship. We will be saved.
We Are to Generate Offspring
Last and tenth statement of Mary. Even as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his posterity forever. There are two kinds of posterity because as we know there are two kinds of generation physical posterity in regenerating oneself in body and a spiritual posterity, in regenerating ourselves in soul. I'm talking to the right audience. Let's make sure we believe and are convinced; we are to generate offspring. Indeed, it's a command! We are to reproduce ourselves, some and the majority of the human race physically, but everyone, beginning with Mary, surely every priest and every religious. That is why - do you hear it - that is why we take a vow of chastity or celibacy that we might be, and this is the Church's language, more fruitful even as Mary was and remains the Queen of Apostles, having reproduced herself by now in countless millions of souls, so we, like her, providing we follow her example of deep humility and selfless charity - we too, will have our posterity going back to our father Abraham, our father in Faith. Amen. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
MAGNIFICAT: PART ONE
THE SONG OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
AS GIVEN IN THE SACRED SCRIPTURES
THE VIRGIN'S DEEPEST THOUGHTS
All Scripture passages quoted in this chapter have received the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur. When not otherwise stated, quotations are from the Rheims-Douai. References within brackets refer to verse locations in other translations.)
"And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord." St. Luke 1:46.
The song of the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered one of the most sublime hymns in all sacred literature. It is a lyric of exquisite beauty worthy of the Virgin. It is not only pervaded by a. spirit of humble adoration and thankfulness, but it glorifies the power, holiness, and mercy of God. This wonderful song has, for centuries, been called the Magnificat. This is because "Magnificat" (magnifies) is the first word of this canticle, in the Latin Vulgate, which was translated in the early fifth century and became the official Latin text of the Bible. From that time down to the present, the song of the Virgin Mary has been called the Magnificat
The well-recognized and very scholarly one-volume Catholic Encyclopedia explains the background of this glorious song:
"Magnificat-This title has been given to the canticle spoken by the Blessed Mother on the occasion of her visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, as recorded in St. Luke 1:46-55. The Magnificat is an expression of genuine humility, which is drawn largely from Old Testament thought, especially the Psalms (Psalms 22:8; 30:8; 33:4; 70:18). It acknowledges the goodness of God, that God is her Savior, and that God is to be served. The title comes from the first word of the Latin version."-The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1986 edition, p. 367.
The gift of inspiration seems to fall upon the Virgin as she speaks forth in calm and majestic strains. It expresses her personal emotion and experience as she meditates upon the message of the angel Gabriel.
The ideas and words reflect what inspired Bible writers have said, both before and after she uttered that sublime song,
As one would gaze into a pool of clearest water, with its myriad hues of blue and green, mingled with shimmering light, so, in this book, we shall penetrate the depths of this wondrous song. It is a study from which you, the reader, will draw renewed courage.
"Thou wilt keep peace: peace because we have hoped in Thee. You have hoped In the Lord for evermore, in the Lord God mighty for ever. " - Isaias 26:3-4
"The joy of the Lord is our strength. " - Nehemias 8:10
"In God I will praise my words, in God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do against me." - Psalm 55:5 (Psalm 56:4)
"Many are the afflictions of the just; but out of them all will the Lord deliver them. - Psalm 33:20 [Psalm 34:19]
How thankful we can be for this wonderful song, from which we derive so much strength. This is because, as we study it, the song of the Virgin is a song of the Holy Scriptures. It carries us from one sweet theme of the Bible to another.
Let us, together, consider this sweetest of hymns. This is the story of the inmost thoughts of the Blessed Virgin: This is the Magnificat.
THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD
"When the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman."-Galatians 4:4.
Mary was important in the sending of our Savior to us. The God of heaven looked down and saw that she would prove faithful to the calling which He was about to bring to her.
"In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary." St. Luke 1:26-27.
She was just a young girl, in her late teens or early twenties. As she was growing into adulthood, few in her village of Nazareth would have thought that anything out of the ordinary might ever happen to the maiden.
Yet the young girl had a profound dedication to the will of God. This was Unusual in her time. She loved and obeyed God's Word -the Holy Scriptures,-and she sought in every little way to be helpful to those around her.
Do you and I realize that, as we study God's Word today and seek to be obedient to what we find therein, that someday we too might be used by God to bring a greater blessing to others?
That is what Mary did, and that is why she became so Blessed. She was, indeed, blessed of God, because she sought to comfort and help all who came in contact with her.
One day as young Mary was working about the house, an angel came to see her. It was an important angel from the heavenly courts, and he came with an important message.
"And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."-St. Luke 1:28.
Mary had received of the grace of God; and; as we read her song, we can better understand why she was so blessed.
"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just. . He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for Ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you, for His name's sake. -1 St John 2:1-2. 12
As the Father hath loved Me, I also have I loved you. Abide in My love.- St John 15:9
"Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence, And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out her roots toward moisture: and It shall not fear when heat cometh. And the leaf thereof shall be green; and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit.- Jeremias 17:7-8
It was by the enabling grace of God that the young girl was able to live such a clean life. Mary loved God and was a daily recipient of His grace,
"Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus , "--St. Luke 1:31.
The Virgin was astounded. Yet there was more to the message:
"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever,"-St. Luke 1:32.
To Mary was to be born the Saviour of the world! An astonishing message! Why was Mary selected? The reason is given in verse 38: She was one who was fully surrendered to the will of God and totally willing to obey His Word.
"And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word."-St. Luke 1:38.
Gabriel had brought her the Word of God, and she bowed willingly in submission to it. God can only use those who are willing to obey His Word, as given in the Sacred Scriptures.
For Mary, God's Word was found in those Scriptures; and, because she readily obeyed them, she was called to a special work for God.
So it may be with us today. For years, Mary had been in the habit of obeying God's Written Word; that was why she was selected for a special task.
As the angel Gabriel was concluding his astounding announcement, he mentioned that Mary's cousin, Elizabeth the wife of Zachary (also called Zacharias) was also to have a child;
"And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren."-St. Luke 1:36.
The following verses of Sacred Scripture tell us that Mary then journeyed south to the home of her cousin. "And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth."-St. Luke 1:40.
Oh, how happy the two women were to see one another! But further evidence was immediately given that Mary had the Christ Child within her. "And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost."-St. Luke 1:41.
As Mary contemplated these things, and especially the words of Gabriel, the spirit of Inspiration came upon her, and she lifted up her voice in holy words of praise.
"Then Moses and the children of Israel sung this canticle [song] to the Lord: and said: Let us sing to the Lord: for He is gloriously magnified." - Exodus 15:1
"And they sung as It were a new canticle, before the throne. . These follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth."- The Apocalypse 14:3-4
"And singing the canticle of Moses, the servant of God, and the canticle of the Lamb, saying: Great and wonderful are Thy works, 0 Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, 0 King of ages." - The Apocalypse 15:3
"For In Him our heart shall rejoice: and in His holy name we have trusted. " - Psalm 32:21 [Psalm 33:21]
That glorious song has come down through the ages, and cheered thousands who have sought a closer walk with God. It will encourage us today, as we study more fully into the message the Virgin Mary had for us.
How thankful we can be for the Holy Scriptures, for they provide us with perfectly true and accurate statements-which we can always rely upon.
MAGNIFYING THE LORD ST. LUKE 1:46
The Song of Mary reveals many things: Why she was chosen, who Christ is, what His work is, and how we can receive what He has for us! There are many noble truths revealed in that glorious canticle. In her song, we find that Mary explains major teachings of the Bible.
"And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord." St. Luke 1:46.
Mary was selected because her whole life magnified the Lord! She loved God with all her heart, and fully yielded to His will. Think not that God casually chose her out of the crowd at random. Before He sent His angel to her with a special work, she was already dedicated to Him.
Oh, that each one of us will be as dedicated as Mary.
In this song, the soul of Mary is magnifying the Lord. We have here the very words of Mary! Profound are the truths to be found within them.
"My soul doth magnify the Lord."-St. Luke 1:46.
It is Mary that is magnifying the Lord. Mary's "soul" is part of her. A "soul" is not something separate from the body which floats in space. It is part of us. It is our feelings, our inner being; it is each one of us.
The word, "soul," comes from a Greek word, psuche (as in psychology), and denotes the inner feeling, part of the entire being.
Especially in these last days, we must beware of those who would teach strange theories which are not found in the Word of God. Her soul was not something apart from Mary that was praising God; it was her heart and very being. It was her.
"Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared."-1 Timothy 4:1-2.
While Mary was magnifying the Lord, most people in her time were magnifying themselves. This is the condition of many in our society today. We must beware of the ungodly.
"Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God. Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid."-2 Timothy 3:4-5.
Instead of magnifying the Lord, all too many are busy seeking to be puffed up. Oh, how many lives are lost by exalting self!
But blessed Mary chose the right way: She magnified the Lord! And that is why she was so blessed. Later, in her song, Mary made this comment:
"He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble."-St. Luke 1:52.
Through all history, God has pulled down the mighty and exalted the humble. Back in the beginning, Lucifer was a leading angel in heaven, but he became conceited and opposed God. He wanted to exalt himself, so he was cast out of heaven.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? How art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations?
"And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north.
"I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High."-Isaias 14:12-14.
Just as Mary said, it is the arrogant who trust in themselves and oppose the godly who are cast down -for the Scriptures declare of Lucifer who sinned in heaven, "But yet thou shalt be brought down" (Isaias 14: 15).
Lucifer got many angels on his side, and he defied God. Ultimately there was a great war.
"And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven.
"And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him."-The Apocalypse 12:7-9.
The Scriptures tell us that the angels that sinned were cast down, "to be reserved unto judgment".(2 St. Peter 2:4). If the angels sinned, what is sin?
"Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity."- 1 St. John 3:4.
Sin is the transgression of the law. "Iniquity" comes from the Latin, iniquitum, which means a violation of equity; that is, a violation of justice and right rules. Another translation which has received the imprimatur of the Church, says it this way: "Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness;"-l John 3:4, RSV.
St. Paul said that where there is no law, there is no sin. This is because it is by the law that we identify sin for what it is.
"I do not know sin; but by the law; for I had not known concupiscence, if the law did not say, Thou shalt not covet."-Romans 7:7.
"My heart is ready, 0 God, my heart is ready: I will sing, and rehearse a psalm.- Psalm 56:8 [Psalm 57:7]
�Thou art my God, and I will praise Thee: Thou art my God, and I will exalt. Thee." -Psalm 117:28[Psalm 118:28]
"Behold, God is my Saviour, I will deal confidently, and will not fear: because the Lord is my strength, and my praise, and He is become my salvation. -Isaias 12:2
"0 praise ye the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever."- Psalm 117:29 [psalm 118:29]
Indeed, where there is no law, there is no transgression.
"For the law worketh wrath. For where there is no law, neither is there transgression."-Romans 4:15.
Therefore, if the angels in heaven sinned, -there had to be an eternal law in heaven that they sinned against. So there is an everlasting law which cannot be abolished nor destroyed.
"All His commandments are faithful: confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth and equity."-Psalm 110:8.
The evil angels were expelled from heaven because they disobeyed God's holy law. We today cannot transgress even part of that law, or we shall suffer for having done so.
"And whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all.
"For He that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also, Thou shalt not kill. Now if thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."-St. James 2:11.
So, when we break one of the Ten Commandments, we have broken all of them. The Decalogue is a written statement of what God is like. Those who are godly live in obedience to this law. Trusting in Jesus, they are given grace to render that obedience..
How terrible would life be, if we did not have our Saviour! Only Jesus can empower us to obey the Word of God. .
Jesus, Himself, emphasized the importance of the clean, pure way of life which He offers us--which we can have as, by faith in His enabling grace, we obey His Ten Commandment law.
"Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.
"He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."-St. Matthew 5:17-19.
How thankful we can be that God's holy law is unchangeable and eternal! It will never change -never. Because God and His law are unchangeable, all His creatures who are saved will live in holy obedience to His principles throughout all eternity.
What are the Ten Commandments? They are found in Exodus 20:3-17. Here they are:
The First Commandment-"Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me."-Exodus 20:3.
The Second Commandment-"Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth.
"Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly In His commandments.� -Psalm 111:1[Psalm 112:1]
"Much peace have they that love Thy law, and to them there is no stumbling block." - Psalm 118:165 [Psalm 119:165]
"God Is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city." -Hebrews11:16
"By what doth a young man correct his way? By observing Thy words.�-Psalm 118:9 [Psalms 119:9]
"Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me: And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love Me, and keep My commandments."-Exodus 20:4.
The Third Commandment-"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of -the Lord his God in vain."-Exodus 20:7.
The Fourth Commandment-"Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works.
"But on the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.
"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it."-Exodus 20:8-11.
The Fifth Commandment--"Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee."-Exodus 20: 12.
The Sixth Commandment-"Thou shalt not kill." Exodus 20:13.
The Seventh Commandment-"Thou shalt not commit adultery."-Exodus 20: 14..
The Eighth Commandment-"Thou shalt not steal." -Exodus 20: 15.
The Ninth Commandment-"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."-Exodus 20:16.
The Tenth Commandment-"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his."-Exodus 20:17.
The Apocalypse 12 not only tells us how Satan was cast out of heaven, but also tells of his efforts to slay Christ. That chapter reveals that Satan tried to destroy God's faithful people in the centuries that followed.
According to verse 9, the "dragon" in this chapter is Satan and the organization he works through to accomplish his purpose. The pure "woman" is a symbol of the true church (2 Cor 11:2). The "child" of the woman is Christ. Here is the passage:
"And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.
"And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his heads seven diadems.
"And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her Son.
"And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her Son was taken up to God, and to His throne.
"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God."-The Apocalypse 12:1-6,
"I Know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience." - Jeremias 29: 11
"The Lord Is good to them that hope In Him, to the soul that seeketh Hlm."- Lamentations 3:25
"Say to the just man that it is well, for he shall eat the fruit of his doings."- Hebrews 13:6
All through the ages-and even down at the end of time --Satan has continued his efforts to slay God's faithful people!
"And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."-The Apocalypse 12:17.
This Bible passage identifies the faithful sons and daughters of God in the last days. The unique characteristic of God's people at the end of time is that they keep the commandments of God. That is something you and I want to do, is it not? By faith in the empowering grace of Jesus Christ, we can do it!
Did you know that, down at the end of time--and just two verses before the second corning of Christ-we are given another description of what God's faithful ones will be like?
"Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."-The Apocalypse 14:12.
Surely, we want to be among those people who, through the faith of Jesus, obey the commandments of God. Trust Him, Oh, my friend, trust Him! He can guide you all along life's journey!
Through the enabling strength of Christ's grace, you can withstand the temptations of the devil, and live a clean, pure life.
REJOICING IN HER SAVIOR- ST. LUKE 1:47
"And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."--St. Luke 1:47.
Mary's Saviour was God. It is clear that she looked to no other. The sweet Virgin knew that she could not save herself. All she had was God; and in giving her all to Him she had become a person whom He could use for a special work.
"Let them rejoice and be glad, who are well pleased with My justice, and let them say always: The Lord be magnified, who delights In the peace of His servant. And my tongue shall meditate Thy justice, Thy praise all the day long."- Psalm 34:27-28 [Psalm 35:27-28]
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." - 2 Timothy 2: 12
"Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly In the grace which Is offered you In the revelation of Jesus Christ.� - 1 St. Peter 1:13
"Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you."- 2 Corinthians 6: 17-18 [2 CorInthians 6: 17]
Think not that God cannot use you also! The God of heaven loves you with the deepest love; and He will work through you to help and bless others, to whatever degree you let Him.
Mary tells us that she needed a Saviour! There is a deep truth here. The Bible teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
"For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God: Romans 3:23.
A wonderful chapter, Isaias 53, echoes the same words. "All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."'--Isaias 53:6.
This has been the story of all Adam's children. We have all gone our own way. Because of this, each one of us needs a Saviour. Only those who have never sinned, never need a Saviour.
So when Mary, by the Inspiration of God, says, "God is my Saviour," it means a lot. She recognizes that she also has sinned and is dependent on the saving grace of Christ. How thankful we can be that we have a Saviour to whom we can go! What if we had no Saviour? How terrible would be our lot!
Mary knew who her Saviour was. For the angel had explained it. Jesus Christ is the only Saviour. . "And she shall bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins."-St. Matthew 1:21.
How does Christ save us? He does it by His grace. And what is grace? It is both forgiveness for sins and enabling strength to obey God's holy law. "For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift ofGod."-Ephesians 2:8.
Grace is more than love and forgiveness, it is also help and power to obey.
"And He said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity."- 2 Corinthians 12:9.
"Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:1.
Grace is power to live a virtuous life.
Many today say that grace is a blank check to follow their own gratification. But this is not true. Grace is help through the merits of Christ to help us stop sinning �not to help us keep doing it.
"What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may about? God forbid. For we that are dead to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?" Romans 6:1-2.
If we want to follow Mary's example, we must trust in the grace of God to help us obey His Ten Commandment law.
"I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: because they shall return to Me with their whole heart." - Jeremias 24:7
"Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor: the Lord will deliver him in the evil day." -Psalm 40:2 [Psalm41:1]
"They cried to the Lord in their affliction: and He delivered them out of their distresses. " - Psalm 106:19 [Psalm 107:19]
"This is God, our God unto eternity, and for ever and ever: He shall rule us for evermore. " -Psalm 47:15 [Psalm 48:14]
Thank God every day for His grace!
"Not because we first loved Him did Christ love us; but 'while we were yet sinners' He died for us. He does not treat us according to our desert. Although our sins have merited condemnation, He does not condemn us. Year after year He has borne with our weakness and ignorance, with our ingratitude and waywardness. Notwithstanding our wanderings, our hardness of heart, our neglect of His Holy Word, His hand is stretched out still.
"Grace is an attribute of God exercised toward undeserving human beings. We did not seek for it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow His grace upon us, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our only claim to His mercy is our great need."-Ministry of Healing, 161.
Jesus is our Saviour. But what does He save us from?
He saves us from sin. "And she shall bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins."-St. Matthew 1:21.
St. Paul said that we cannot know what sin is, except by the law..
"I do not know sin, but by the law; for I had not known concupiscence, if the law did not say, Thou shalt not covet."-Romans 7:7.
Mary is saying, "Jesus is my Saviour." Blessed Mary! She is blessed who hath done so much for us, by bearing the Messiah! And we can be blessed too. All of us have sinned and come short; but, in the strength of Christ our Saviour, we can be empowered to live clean, godly lives.
And it is done by His grace. His grace is His empowering strength, which He freely offers us. God is love,-and in love He offers us so much help! Just so much! All that we need.
So we see that it is grace which enables us to obey His will, which is His law. This is because the Ten Commandments are a reflection of all that God is and stands for. When we read the Ten Commandments, we read what God is like, His character.
Yet is there not anyone else to whom we can turn for. salvation? No, there is not one. The Sacred Scriptures tell us that there is no one else who can save us from our sins.
"Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved."--Acts 4:12.
"No other name." And what is that name?
"Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, --even by Him this man standeth here before you whole."-Acts 4:10,
"Now to Him who is able to preserve you without sin, and to present you spotless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." - Jude 24
"All thy children shall be taught of the Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children. " - Isaias 54: 13
"You shall walk in the way that the Lord your God hath commanded, that you may live, and it may be well with you, and your days may be long in the land bfyour possession." - Deuteronomy 5:33
"For according to the height of the heaven above the earth: He hath strengthened His mercy towards them that fear [reverence} Him." -Psalm 102:11 [Psalms 103:11]
The Scriptures do not support the idea that any human being can be a co-redemptor. Salvation is only in Jesus Christ. That is what the Bible teaches.
"For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus."- 1 Timothy 2:5.
Only God can redeem us. And those whom He redeems are those who have sinned, but who, in humility of soul, have confessed that He is their Saviour. Mary did this.
"And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." St. Luke 1:47.
The Redemptor is Jesus. He is Mary's Redemptor; He is ours. Christ is the only Redemptor anyone can have!
"Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved."-Acts,4:12.
Everyone needs a Saviour; and, by her own statement, Mary herself needed a Saviour! "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." St. Luke 1 :47.
Look to Jesus! Jesus Christ is the only pathway to heaven for any human being. "Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me." St. John 14:6.
That verse does not say "by us," but "by Me." Only through Christ can we have forgiving and enabling grace. Only through Him can we be saved.
BLESSED ART THOU ST. LUKE 1:48-49
Continuing on with the wonderful song of Mary, we next read this passsage: "Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." St. Luke 1:48.
Mary was a sweet child of God who loved Him deeply. She recognized that she was a humble servant. It is only the humble, those who take a lowly place before God, that He can use in His work.
Her attitude was clearly shown in her words when she first received the message of the Incarnation: "And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word."-St. Luke 1:38.
It is difficult for us today to realize the great sacrifice that Mary made in her decision to submit to the Word of God.
"His mercy Is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him. St Luke 1:50
"The needy and the poor seek for waters, and there Is none: their tongue hath been dry with thirst. I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them." -Isaias 41:17
"It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, 0 Most High. To shew forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night." � Psalm 91:2-3 [Psalm 92:1-2]
"Blessed Is the man who hath not walked In the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners. Psalm 1:1
She was poor, a single parent. Today people would say she should abort her baby! In obeying the Word of God, Mary knew that, for the rest of her life, she would face the stigma of an unusual birth. Those were times when women were stoned for having children out of wedlock.
But Mary was willing to pay a price, the highest price, if it would please God. Although to all about her, this would be viewed as a betrayal to her betrothed, yet Mary remained firm to her commitment.
She would obey the Word of God. And she was blessed for it. Greatly blessed.
You will recall her submissive words when the task was presented to her: "Be it done to me according to Thy word."-St. Luke 1 :38.
This was what made Mary great! This is why the God of heaven could use her to bear the promised Messiah! She had total submission to the revealed will of God. She would obey, regardless of the cost.
Our Saviour speaks to us today through the pages of Holy Writ. To you and me today, the will of God is found in the Scriptures. To the degree that we are as submissive as Mary to the Word of God, we shall, like her, receive a blessing. .
In her song, Mary also spoke these words: "From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."-St. Luke 1:48.
She knew she would be held in remembrance by all ages because she was the bearer of the Messiah. Only one person throughout human history would ever have that task assigned to her. It was the dream of every Jewish woman that she might be the mother of the Messiah. Mary, humble little Mary, was the one given that solemn responsibility.
Elizabeth had spoken these words to the Virgin:
"Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."-St. Luke 1:42.
This was not the first time, in Scripture, that a special blessing had been given by God to women. Another example is to be found in the book of Judges.
"Blessed among women be Jahel the wife of Haber the Cinite, and blessed be she in her tent."-Judges 5:24.
Jahel was also a humble woman who loved God and obeyed His will. Just as that woman was especially blessed of God, we too can be blessed, each of us in our own sphere of activity.
The Virgin was blessed because she was willing to take any assignment, do any task assigned her. This was clearly expressed in her words, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to Thy word" (St. Luke 1:38).
Mary was calling herself a servant of the Lord. Mary showed a commitment to fully obey whatever she was told in God's Word.
Thirty years later, the Virgin was still submissive to God's Word! We shall see this as we continue this study.
"The Lord keepeth all them that love Him." - Psalm 144:20 [Psalm 145:20]
"The meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight in abundance of peace." - Psalm 36:11 [Psalm 37: 11]
"The poor shall eat and be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever." - Psalm 21:27 [Psalm 22:26]
"He was mindful of us in our affliction: for His mercy endureth for ever." - Psalm 135:23 [Psalm 136:23]
"He shall save His people from their sins." St Matthew 1:21
As we live our earthly life, we should say to ourselves, "Are we going to follow the example of Mary? Are we going to do whatever we are told by the Lord in the Scriptures?"
Mary's life was a life of obedience. We can surely know that, as she worked with young Jesus, she emphasized obedience to the law of God. The child Jesus happily did so. So it should be with us today. It is those that teach obedience who are called great in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus carefully explained this in the Sermon on the Mount: "Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.
"He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." St. Matthew 5:17-19.
Today we hear many conflicting voices, telling us to obey the sayings of men. But those who are truly blessed are those who keep the commandments of God, by enabling faith in Jesus Christ.
"Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."-The Apocalypse 14:12.
When the angel first told Mary that she was going to bear the Son of the living God, she was startled. "And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man."-St. Luke 1:34.
The reply of the angel was deep with significance.
"And the angel answering, said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come- upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." -St. Luke 1:35.
The power of the most High would be the means by which the Word of God would be fulfilled. This is the way it shall ever be.
The power of the Almighty is related to His Word. By a word, God can help His people in time of need.
"Come ye to Him and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be confounded. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him: and saved him out of all his troubles.
"The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him: and shall deliver them. 0 taste, and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopeth in Him." -Psalm 33:8-9.
God's Word has immense power.
"It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in men." -Psalm 117:8[Psalm 118:8]
"I am come that they might have life, and may have It more abundantly. "- St John 10:10
"Believe in your God, and you shall be secure; believe His prophets, and all things shall succeed well." - 2 Paralipomenon 20:20
"The Lord your God Is In the midst of you, and will fight for you against your enemies, to deliver you from danger." - Deuteronomy20:4
"Through God we shall do mightily: for He shall bring to nothing them that afflict us." - Psalm 59:14 [Psalm 60:12]
"So shall My word be, which shall go forth from My mouth: it shall not return to Me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it."-Isaias 55:11.
That power, which can build the human body within the womb, can also cleanse our souls of sin and restore our entire being in newness of life.
The power of God's Word is to be found in the Holy Scriptures. As we study and obey them, our lives become clean and godly.
"All Scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice; that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work."-2 Timothy 3:16-17.
But there is more to Mary's song in St. Luke 1:48.
"Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."'-St. Luke 1:48.
The sweet Virgin is saying that all future generations would recognize that, through her, the Saviour came into the world. She surely was blessed in being selected to bear the Messiah!
There is an interesting parallel ten chapters later in St. Luke. Jesus was speaking precious words of life to the people gathered about Him. Oh, how their hearts thrilled with joy upon learning the words of life.
You and I today may also hear those words as we faithful read in the Four Gospels and elsewhere in the Holy Scriptures.
As Jesus spoke to the group about Him, a woman cried out. What was it that she said? She repeated the blessing on Mary:
"And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain Woman, from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck!"-St. Luke 11:27.
How many down through the centuries have echoed that adoring statement of the Virgin Mary!
Yet to this Christ gave a remarkable reply. Turning toward the woman, and then beckoning to all that vast throng, He said:
"Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the Word of God, and keep it!"-St. Luke 11:28.
What did Christ mean when He said that? The words are quite obvious, and so is the meaning. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, declared that, even though the Virgin was blessed for having borne Him,-yet the greater blessing of God rested on anyone and everyone who would obey the Holy Scriptures!
This is an extremely significant statement, -and it agrees with what God and all the holy prophets and apostles have said throughout the Bible.
Was Mary blessed? Yes, she surely was. Can anyone else be blessed to a like degree? According to the words of Christ, everyone can, if they will obey the Word of God. Mary obeyed God; you and I can also.
"The name of the Lord Is a strong tower: the just runneth to It, and shall be exalted. " - Proverbs 18:10
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For It Is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." - Romans 1:16
"And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth In me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself for me. "- Galatians 2:20
�Better Is a little to the just, than the great riches of the wicked. " -Psalm 36:16 [Psalm 37:16]
The greatest blessing rests on those who humble their hearts before God; surrender their lives to His control; and, in full reliance on the enabling grace of Christ,-put into their every day lives the teachings of Scripture! They live for God fully, and they are blessed for it.
The Virgin was blessed because she humbled her heart and dedicated her life to God, so she could be used by Him. What a glorious promise it is, that you and I can have a blessing such as Mary received! According to St. Luke 11 :27 -28, each of us can! Indeed, the deeper our dedication and obedience to God's Word, the deeper will be the blessing.
It is a blessing, which comes to all who, through the grace of Christ, live clean, godly lives and spend their time encouraging others and ministering to their needs. Yes, yes, we can be blessed as Mary was! It is a blessing we today can share in.
Notice what Jesus said:
�Blessed are they who hear the Word of God, and keep it!"-St. Luke 11:28.
It is hearing and doing that counts. Listen to God speak:
"If therefore you will hear My voice, and keep My covenant, you shall be My peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is Mine." Exodus 19:5.
God predicted that the people could be saved when, amid their troubles, heartaches, and sins, they sought Him with all their heart, and returned and heard His voice. Then He would be found of them..
"And when thou shalt seek there the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him: yet so, if thou seek Him with all thy heart, and all the affliction of thy soul.
"After all the things aforesaid shall find thee, in the latter time thou shalt return to the Lord thy God, and shalt hear His voice."-Deuteronomy 4:29-30.
What a wonderful promise. 0 child of God, whatever the sins you may have committed, you can come back to Him-even now-and find forgiveness and acceptance. But it can only happen as we repent of our sins, and in the strength of Christ determine to forsake them, listen, and obey God's voice as given in the sacred books of the Old and New Testaments.
There are those in the world today who refuse to do this. They choose to not hear and obey God speaking to them in the Scriptures.
"And the word of the Lord came to Zacharias, saying:
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: Judge ye true judgment, and shew ye mercy and compassion every man to his brother. And oppress not the widow and the fatherless, and the stranger, and the poor: and let not a man devise evil in his heart against his brother.
"But they would not hearken, and they turned away the shoulder to depart: and they stopped their ears, not to hear.
"And they made their heart as the adamant stone, lest they should hear the law and the words which the Lord of host sent in His Spirit by the hand of the former prophets: so a great indignation came from the Lord of hosts."-Zacharias 7:8-12.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land, and thou shalt be fed with Its riches. . They that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the land. . The Lord will help them and deliver them: and He will rescue them from the wicked, and save them, because they have hoped in Him." - Psalm 36:3, 9, 40 [Psalm 37: 3, 9, 40]
"Seek the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, you that have wrought His Judgment: seek the just, seek the meek: If by any means you may be hid in the day of the Lord's indignation." - Sophonias 2._3 [Zephaniah 2:3]
We do not want to be like those who stubbornly rebel against the Word of the Lord and refuse to hear it! God's instruction to Josue (also called Joshua) tells us how we may please Him:
"Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate on it day and night, that thou mayst observe and do all things that are written in it: then shalt thou direct thy way, and understand it." Josue 1:8.
The blessing is for those who will take time to read in the Bible every day, and obey it! We want that promised blessing,-the blessing our Saviour promised to those who would hear and do the Words of God. "And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck!
"But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the Word of God, and keep it!"-St. Luke 11 :27-28.
There must be not only hearing, but doing! The Holy Scriptures declare that only the doers are justified. "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."-Romans 2:13.
Christ gave many deep truths in His Sermon on the Mount (recorded in 81. Matthew 5, 6, and 7). He ended that wonderful sermon with words, which summarized it all:
"Every one therefore that heareth these My words, and doeth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock.
"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.
"And every one that heareth these My words, and doeth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand.
"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof."-St. Matthew 7:24-27.
It is hearing Christ's words-all through the Sacred books of Scripture-and doing them that counts. Just knowing that the Bible is on the shelf is not enough.
We must be founded on the Rock; and that Rock is Jesus Christ, our only Saviour from sin.
"Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name Under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."-Acts 4: 12.
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart: and He will save the humble of spirit." - Psalm 33:19 [psalm 34:18]
"If any man love God, the same is known by Him."-1 Corinthians 8:3
"When thou shalt pass through the waters, I will be with thee, and the rivers shall not cover thee: when thou shall walk in the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; and the flames shali not burn In thee: For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." - Isaias 43:2-3
"Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess the land." - St Matthew 5:4 [Matthew 5:5]
Before concluding this section on those whom Heaven blesses, we surely want to consider the people of God whom Christ has said are especially blessed.
When our Lord and Saviour gave the Sermon on the Mount, He began by giving the Beatitudes. These consist of eight blessings on those who, having accepting Christ as their Saviour, hear and obey the Word of God.
These blessings are for you and me today. It is for all those who see their spiritual need, humble their hearts before God, mourn over their sins and put them away, hunger and thirst for godliness, show mercy to others, have clean hearts, try to make peace with others, and willingly suffer persecution for Christ's sake:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. . "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice [righteousness]: for they shall have their fill.
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
"Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you."-St. Matthew 5:3-12.
God is willing to bestow these blessings upon each of us.