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Today we light the Fourth Candle, the Candle of Joy,

to remember Mary the mother of Our Lord.

May our hearts be filled with joy

as we listen to the song of Mary.

“My soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones

but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things

but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful

to Abraham and his descendants forever,

just as he promised our ancestors.”

Let us acknowledge our sins,

that we may prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

Kyrie eleison,

Christe eleison,

Kyrie eleison.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and

bring us to everlasting life.

Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,

your grace into our hearts, that we,

to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son

was made known by the message of an Angel,

may by his Passion and Cross

be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.

Who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

THE GOSPEL – Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town

in the hill country of Judah.

She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,

the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed,

and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

For the moment your greeting reached my ears,

the child in my womb leapt for joy.

Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord

would be fulfilled.’

Mary of the Visitation - This wasn't a meeting of the National Childbirth Trust.

Nor did Mary visit her cousin Elizabeth to compare bumps. Mary was towards the beginning of her pregnancy, Elizabeth had just three months to go.

It is very likely that Mary's visit was one of assistance to Elizabeth in preparation for her birth of John the Baptist.

I think most-importantly is was a visit to reassure the other that this was for real,

that neither had imagined the news received.

It was Zechariah who received Gabriel's message,

the news that he and Elizabeth in their old age should suddenly conceive;

and he was struck dumb before he could give substance to the angelic message.

Mary too - it was pretty fantastic news that she received.

Was it a dream?

Did she imagine Gabriel's visit to her?

Elizabeth assures Mary in her words familiar to us now -

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb"

Mary affirms both herself and Elizabeth in the words of the Magnificat.

These sons were to be born to herald social change, justice,

and a return to God's values.

Mary's song echoes that of Hannah when she conceived Samuel.

"...for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

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...."

In her Magnificat, Our Lady gives substance to hope, God's hope;

Without her "Be it unto me according to thy Word"

Jesus would not have been born.

We owe Mary so much.

There is nothing more-embarrassing to the Christian Church

than the Canticle it loves so much, The Magnificat.

Those who are powerful within the Church – do they listen to Mary?

Those in the Church who have everything whilst others have need

- do they listen to Mary?

Those who look down on the lowly, the exalted people of God,

- do they listen to Mary?

“I have come” said her Son,

“that they may have life, and may have it in abundance!”

That is no better expressed, than in The Magnificat;

Mary, the embarrassing revolutionary,

challenging and embarrassing people in every age……

Invite her into your home.

Read her song.

Pray it.

Live it.


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son,

our Lord, who was conceived by the

Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

He ascended into heaven,

He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

And he will come to judge the living

and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Prayer of the Faithful (Bidding Prayers)

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I pray for those struggling financially…….

I pray for the food banks,

that supplies will keep-up with those who need help…….

I pray for those on the front line in combating this virus;

refuse workers, shop assistants, doctors, nurses, care assistants

and all other key workers. ….

I pray for those who cannot look after themselves,

those in care homes and hospitals……

I pray for local businesses,

May they come through this time safely, and those still shut

be able to open their business as soon as possible….

I pray for those worried about their jobs, their income;

families breaking-up under the strain of these difficult times…..

Pray for those who have no personal faith, or those whose faith is

challenged, that they may seek and find the One who never changes

and whose love is free, limitless and unconditional.

We ask Mary to pray with us, as we with her

bring our care for the situation in which we find ourselves

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Eternal God, comfort of the afflicted and healer of the broken,

you feed us at the table of life and hope:

teach us the ways of gentleness and peace,

that all the world may acknowledge

the kingdom of your Son Jesus Christ.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Time to sit quietly to receive the Lord’s Presence spiritually.

“My Jesus, I believe that You are present

in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart …

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You,”

Grant, we pray, almighty God,

that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son

and recall the wonders of his love for us,

may be made worthy to receive

an overflowing measure of compassionate grace

from that fount of heavenly gifts.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Silent Prayer

Christ the Son of God, born of Mary,

fill you with his grace to trust his promises and obey his will;

and may the blessing of Almighty God,

the Father, the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit

come down upon you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.

The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

WE beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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