My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel,for he has remembered his promise of mercy.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is of course central to Advent and to Jesus’ life. Yet, she appears only a few times in scripture.
Mary’s “Magnificat” gives us a window into her spirit. Mary was unmarried, pregnant, poor—to be scorned in her culture as she would be in our own. Nonetheless, she strongly proclaimed the amazing ways God was working in her life and in our world. She sang with clear vision and boundless gratitude. Perhaps only those who have lived so close to the edge can appreciate the power and mercy of God as she did.
God turns our world’s notions of success upside down. “He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.” Mary’s song also foretells the mission of Jesus and his followers—to heal lepers, listen to foreigners, cross boundaries, spread God’s compassion. Two thousand years later, Jesus’ followers still stand with suffering people.
Consider your own “Magnificat:” Are there good things that you believe God has done in your life? Are there ways God’s grace seems to be working amid the people you care about—in your school, family, neighborhood or city?
—Mary Anne Reese is a lawyer, poet, and member of Bellarmine Chapel, a Jesuit parish in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Let Mary’s soul be in us to glorify the Lord; let her spirit be in us that we may rejoice in God our Savior.”
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