The Magnificat, taken from Luke’s Gospel (1:46-55), is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s hymn of praise to the Lord. It is also known as the Canticle of Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours.
The Magnificat of Mary
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name;
And his mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
Do you have a Magnificat which is an overflow of your contemplation about your “Yes” to God?
The hymn of praise, with a lot of meaning from life-experience was the Magnificat of Virgin Mary. Mary’s soul always sang praises to God Almighty, for the great things He has done throughout her life. Mary’s song of praise was the daily prayer for her and she sang it from her heart.
Her life was not a bed of roses, but filled with poverty, struggles and sufferings. She just said “Yes” to God. The virgin who is supposed to become the mother of God had gone through pain and anxiety than any women could think. Still her faith gave her strength to be committed to her response.
As a young virgin, she might have dreamed a lot like any other virgins in Israel. She had prepared herself completely to be the mother of God. Her preparedness gave way to God’s salvation to mankind. When the time came for her to give birth to the child, she goes with her husband to enrol their names. Can anyone think of a pregnant woman, who is a refugee, still no place for staying even one day, travelling such a hard journey? When the labour pain begins, she had no place to give birth to the child. The silent cry of the new-born might have silenced the cattle there. In that cold night, mother might have searched for a good peace of cloth to cover the child. Saying “Yes” to God, requires a lot of struggles, humiliations etc.
The journey to Egypt and Nazareth was not an easy task. On the eighth day taking child to the temple for offering, and the prophecy of Simon was very heart breaking; still she contemplated and said “Yes”. When the child is lost in the temple, the agony of the mother is heavy. At the time people spoke very badly about her son, she contemplated. The day she heard that he was betrayed by one of his disciples whom she knew well but never expected, she couldn’t bear it.
When Jesus was in the hands of Jews like a criminal, being taken to Pilate and Herod, on the way when she met the beloved son carrying the big cross, the mother contemplates about her response to God. At last when the son is crucified and hanged on the cross, at the foot of the cross she contemplates silently and offers herself to the Will of Almighty. There too she sang the hymn of praise in her heart.
She knew that she was blessed because of the fruit. She found favour with God, not men. This favour is reflected all through her life. From that fullness of grace she sings the Magnificat. Only those people, who live in graceful life, can sing the Magnificat, even in difficult times of life.
Mary discovered God’s mighty works through her, in her faith. When she surrendered herself to become the channel of grace to humanity, she was aware of the meaning of sufferings in her life. She knew that the fruit in her womb is the mighty work of God. Her virginity has been glorified by the mighty One, and then she could praise the Holy Name of God. When grace filled in her, she became the model for all the virgins.
Mary had been taught by her parents about the religious tradition. She knew about God’s mighty hand Israel experienced and she acknowledges it proudly in the form of praise. It is very important to know one’s own religious tradition from a faith perceptive, which will enhance one, especially when he/she is in struggle. Mary, who knew the mighty works God done through their ancestors and Israel, especially the exodus experience (Ex.15:1-21) had not doubted God but believed in His Mighty works through her.
Those who humbled themselves had been lifted high by the Lord. David, the shepherd, became the powerful weapon in the hands of God. To slew down Goliath, the symbol of evil, God uses little boy David and his technique with sharp stones. For the world it might be foolishness, but God to work miracle, our complete trust in Him is needed. The modern Era is filled with Goliath, who threatens the moral life. The Goliath of abortion, lesbian marriage, gay marriage, phonographic, Paedophilia are mighty ones who stand tall against Catholic Church and its virtues.
If somebody is ready, rise up like David and fight against it by trusting completely in God. Mother Theresa picked up unwanted ones from the gutter and showed the world Church values? One might be having only few simple stones against the proud protection of the mighty weapons of the world. The beads of rosary could become the miraculous weapon in one’s hand. Those who gain strength from those beads of rosary continuously, will be able to sing like mother Mary about the falling of powerful ones in this modern time.
God always fills the hungry. The poor are known as Yahweh’s anawim. When they cried God listened to them. They are very close to God, whereas the rich may forget God. The poor widow who is appreciated by Jesus is an example. Since the rich may not see the works of God’s right hand, due to their richness, they often go away from God with an empty heart.
Mary knew that the fruit in her womb is the fulfilment of the promise. The promise made to the fathers and Israel. She could have stopped the hymn of praise with the conception of the Word, but she does continue the Magnificat in her whole life.
– – – written by Fr. Biju Maramkuzhackal SVD