Monday, December 22, 2008

The Magnificat

The historical Mary, to many remains a meek, uneducated teenager who was found to be with child. She is rarely quoted for theological insight and reformers have persistently downgraded her critical role in Christianity. The entry today is a direct quote attributed to Mary from the gospel of Saint Luke (1, 46-56) while she visited her cousin Elizabeth who at an advanced age was also carrying a child.

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

The Magnificat is a sublime proclamation of humility and submission to those who believe in the existence of God. The eight sentences affirm the greatness of God with an abundance of mercy and blessings to those who acknowledge his infinite power. Within the brief paragraph is the basis for the concept of a preferential option for the poor and the powerless; finally, it is a ringing announcement that there is hope for all.

Mary withdraws to the background during the ministry of her son, making a cameo here and there, searching for her missing child, requesting her son to perform a miracle at a wedding feast but her final appearance in the Acts of the Apostles is revealing: when the apprehensive disciples are huddled around her as they await the arrival of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost.


azron said...

I love the Magnificat - one of the greatest pieces of literature and truth every written!!!

I love how those on top end up on the bottom - filled with hope for all oppressed people everywhere -

no wonder the liberation theologians have used it to spread spiritual and political hope!


ness said...

Hi Doc Matin,

I'd like to invite you (and all other docs reading here!) to the TBR Christmas edition which I've volunteered to host.

The theme is memorable/unforgettable Christmas past or your childhood Christmas dreams and stuff like that. Deadline is supposed to be today but of course that's adjustable as time seems to fly so fast these days.

More details over at our TBR yahoo groups site.

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

pian said...

Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year!
The Christmas season ends on the Feast of the Three Kings (first Sunday of January of the New Year or January 6, whichever comes first), so it's inappropriate to say Belated Merry Christmas on December 26 onwards.
Also, I refrain from writing Merry X-mas, otherwise the meaning of the season disappears.