Mary was a young Jewish girl living in Nazareth when a messenger from the Lord announced that she was to be the bearer of the Son of God to the world. Her response ‘Let it be to me according to your word’ revealed her natural sense of obedience to God and her reverence for his word, showing her worthy to be the bearer of the Word made flesh. This day is now celebrated as the major feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout most of Christendom.
O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
who looked upon the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and chose her to be the mother of your only Son:
grant that we who are redeemed by his blood
may share with her in the glory of your eternal kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Hear, O daughter; consider and incline your ear;
forget your own people and your father’s house.
So shall the king have pleasure in your beauty;
he is your lord, so do him honour.
The people of Tyre shall bring you gifts;
the richest of the people shall seek your favour.
The king’s daughter is all glorious within;
her clothing is embroidered cloth of gold.
She shall be brought to the king in raiment of needlework;
after her the virgins that are her companions.
With joy and gladness shall they be brought
and enter into the palace of the king.
‘Instead of your fathers you shall have sons,
whom you shall make princes over all the land.
I will make your name to be remembered through all generations;
therefore shall the peoples praise you for ever and ever.’
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.
And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
‘His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
‘He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
‘He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
This is the word of the Lord.
For patient love to heal the Church and the world, let us pray to the Lord.
Guide your Church to follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary in patience, humility and trust. As we honour her for the sake of her beloved Son, grant that we may know and make known the gentle love that he knew in his human family.
Teach our humanity to honour its wholeness in both male and female. Bless the women who work for peace and justice, in organised movements or as lonely individuals. Bring kindness and compassion into the places torn by strife.
We pray for mothers, especially those known to us who are under strain of poverty or anxiety. Bless the ministry of women in this church. We pray for women who work with maternal care in this community.
Have mercy on women suffering from cruelty and indifference… women in societies which deny them equal rights… those despised and ill treated by their families.
We join with the Blessed Virgin Mary in intercession for the departed. In the hour of death, save us by the love of Christ which has raised them to eternal life.
We pray in the name of Christ, rejoicing in the grace given to his blessed Mother.
in whose service lies perfect freedom:
teach us to obey you
with loving hearts and steadfast wills;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.