The Canticle of Mary

Luke 1: 39-56
Zep 3: 14-18a or Rom 12: 9-16 / Is 12: 2-6

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
(Luke 1:46)

The wonders of our Lord I’ve found,
The proud and haughty are debased,
The mighty He casts to the ground,
The humble to high honor raised.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 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, even as he said to our fathers.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (Luke 1: 39-56)

Reflection

The canticle of Mary, also known as the Magnificat is one of the most beautiful prayers that the Church uses everyday at Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. It is a manifestation of Mary’s perfect faith and trust in God. Many biblical scholars believe that Luke based the canticle of Mary on the song of Hannah in I Samuel 2: 1-10. Perhaps Luke wanted to establish a parallel between Samuel, one of the Old Testament precursors of the Messiah who was a “sacrificial child” promised by his mother Hannah, and Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb and promised redeemer. Their mothers were totally dedicated to God, and for their sacrifices, both were amply rewarded. Hannah bore three more sons and two daughters after Samuel. Mary rightly declares, “My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord…He has done great things for me…All generations shall call me blessed.” Indeed she has become the Mother of mankind.

Mary’s song recalls not only the exaltation of Hannah, but those of David in Psalms 69:30 and 34:3 (“Magnify the Lord, let us exalt His Name together!”), and Isaiah (61:10, “I rejoice greatly in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul!”) All of them acknowledged the wonderful things that God had accomplished in their lives. Let us take Mary’s cue and call to mind all the wonders that our Lord has done for us, the blessings we now enjoy, the members of our family and true friends that we cherish, our resources and our talents and abilities. Let us take the time to enumerate these gifts from God and give Him thanks and praise. Let our souls proclaim the Lord’s greatness, and our lips exult with words of praise; God has shown us all His great kindness, and has led us to this life of grace!

With Mary we proclaim Your wondrous deeds in our lives, Father God, and with joyous songs the coming of our Savior. Thank You, Lord for all Your love and kindness, and the hope of eternal life in heaven. Amen.

Comments are closed.