My word for this Third Sunday is prayer. Prayer is the life of spirit and soul.
The antiphon is “My soul rejoices in my God.”
The Visitation is the pertinent decade of the Rosary, the second of the Joyful Mysteries.
A closer examination of my pray, pay, and obey phrase needs the modification, unrequited. The arrogant clergy would never pray, pay, and obey to serve the Faithful; although the humble clergy do so frequently. Correctly, all of the Faithful do need to pray, pay, and obey, but hardly in the sense would arrogant clergy have it.
Fifty years ago, Catholics were not able to find anyone to write a pamphlet on how to pray. The following comments are still of rare order. Prayer may be divided into oral, mental, and contemplative. The following comments are about mental prayer. Within the soul is a third voice, a voice not audible to the ear and not the voice of the pray-er, but a third voice. This third inner voice is controllable. Just as the first voice, that of the pray-er, the audible voice, can control whom it addresses, so the inner voice can chose with whom to dialogue. When that inner voice directs itself at God, prayer results. Not only can the pray-er control the direction of voice, the pray-er also has some control over the fantasies and dreams that go with the dialogue. Once pray is in place, pay and obey can get involved.
Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Isaiah 61:1 is the key to Third Isaiah. First Isaiah is about being forced into exile because of lack of prayer. Second Isaiah is about praying to return from exile. Third Isaiah is about praying to lead a better life.
Isaiah 61 is used in three places in this liturgy: (1) First Reading; (2) Responsorial Psalm, and (3) Alleluia.
verse 1a The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
This spirit of the Lord GOD is the spirit of prayer. Anointing is a sign of the democratization of the Covenant. Anointed refers to those who seek to carry out the ideals of Deutero-Isaiah. In Third or Trito-Isaiah, the Covenant is not simply with the royal household or with the clergy, but with the people themselves, as the next part of the verse shows. Isaiah 61:1 are the introductory words to Trito-Isaiah’s fifth Servant Song.
verse 1b he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the broken hearted
The poor and the broken hearted or poor in spirit are the people.
This message is not that voluntary poverty and poor in spirit are rewarded with the presence of the Father, but
that the Father is going to reverse the fortunes of the beat up remnant that
has returned from exile into
The Latin for broken hearted is contritis, from which contrite is derived. A contrite heart with a firm purpose of amendment seems like the appropriate way to incorporate this verse into one’s prayer life.
verse 10a I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
The Latin uses Gaudens gaudebo, alliteration, a sort of emphasis by repetition. This is the verse repeated under a different translation in the antiphon.
verse 10b in my God is the joy of my soul;
verse 10c for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice
From Ezekiel the Faithful learn that God uses nature to draw close to humans, to show his presence, up close and personal. That idea, useful for prayer, is contained in
verse 11 As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the LORD GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all nations.
The Latin has the stem for germinate in three places: (1) brings forth, (2) spring up and (3) spring up. Prayer germinates justice within the souls of the Faithful.
Isaiah 61:11 has been quoted extensively in
This is the
verse 46-47 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
verse 48a for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
looks different from the poor in
Isaiah above. Saint Jerome has
verse 54a He has come to the help of his servant
verse 50 He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
The Latin brings out the notion of germinate, at least in my imagination.
1 Thessalonians 5:116-24
verse 16 Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
verse 19 Do not quench the Spirit
verse 23 May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 61:1 (cited in
verse 1 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
There is a lot of audible dialogue here from
These verses are an answer to prayer, prayer for the Messiah. Scholars tell us that the emphasis used for
verse 21 I am
was an early Christian formula meaning that
These readings are about prayer, prayer for a
better life in Isaiah; prayer of
rejoicing in the Magnificat, prayer
without ceasing in Thessalonians, and prayer
Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The
Spirituality of the Psalms (
 Adrian M. Leske, “Context and Meaning of Zechariah 9:9," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 666.
 Mark Allan Powell, “Matthew’s Beatitudes: Reversals and Rewards of the Kingdom," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 3(July 1996) 463, 465.
Nova Vulgata: Bibliorum Sacrorum
Editio: Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II ratione habita Iussu Pauli
PP, VI Recognita Auctoritate Joannis Pauli PP, II Promulgata Editio Typica