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Luke 1:46-56

The Word of God

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." And Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

Luke 1:46-56
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    • This song is full of joy, because Mary recognises that God has acknowledged the presence of a simple girl living in a small place – in the eyes of the world a person of no consequence. But, where God is concerned, everyone is of equal value.
    • All this is very much in line with the picture of Jesus that Luke will show emerging as one reads through his gospel. It is a gospel where the poor, the weak, the marginalised, the outcast and the sinful have a special place in the eyes of Jesus. Do they have a special place in my eyes?
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    • Mary’s response to the loving action of God is to give praise and thanks. She is the lowly servant who acknowledged the favour of God, her Saviour, though she is the mother of the Saviour. This is the God of blessing, the God of reversals who raises the lowly and brings down the powerful from their thrones. The Magnificat is Mary’s mission statement as a servant of God. She is in continuity with the faithful people of the past and the faith story of her people.
    • Mary gives me a model of prayer, rooted in the past but open to the future. The prayer invites me to give time to recognise and ponder on the gifts I have received, so that I can thank God for them. Perhaps I could write my own Magnificat and pray over it, recognising the great things the Lord has done for me and through me.
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    • Mary’s heart sings in praise of God her Saviour. For us to appreciate the gift of salvation we have to appreciate our sin from which we are saved.
    • The joy of salvation is a basic reality of our Christian life. Pope Francis says we should pray insistently to have that joy in our hearts. We can’t really live without it!
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    • Although Mary is giving thanks for the honour accorded her, this is a self-effacing prayer: it is a hymn of praise for everything the Lord has done for his people – the people as a whole (descendants of Abraham), as well as anyone anywhere who truly reveres [fears] God. There is joy and exultation which the angels around Bethlehem will also give voice to, at the coming of salvation.
    • At so many points in their history, the people of Israel were tiny in the face of menacing enemies. And at the very coming of Jesus they seemed to be at the mercy of the occupying Romans. So we have the tradition of the Lord stepping in to vindicate or champion his people.
    • This note will often be struck in the preaching of Jesus - the humble will be exalted and the exalted will be humbled. And there are ‘beatitudes’ praising persons whose lot in this world is hardship.
    • The whole of history – who is victorious, who is downtrodden, is in the Lord’s hands.
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    • Mary prayed her own Magnificat. She is full of praise. Her grateful heart overflows with thanksgiving. God is the great one in her life, working marvels beyond all imaging.
    • Can I write my own Magnificat today? For what to I want to give thanks? Meister Eckhart wrote “If the only prayer we ever say is thanks that will suffice.”
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    • This glorious prayer, the Magnificat, is charged with dynamite. It points to a society in which nobody wants to have too much while others have too little. The hungry are fed and the lowly are raised up.
    • Lord, may I never be seduced by sweet devotion while I have more than I need and others have less.
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    • Mary’s ‘Yes’ to God is generous and absolute. It is good to reflect on the difference between her response and that of Adam and Eve who were reluctant to trust in God. There is a freedom and a joy that comes from saying Yes. We make a commitment to what God asks, and trust the rest to God.
    • Mary is a figure of hope for all of us who journey in faith. Even though she didn’t know where that journey would take her, she trusted that God knew.
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    • For Mary, Elizabeth’s visible pregnancy confirms what the angel promised her. Her spontaneous reaction is exultant. Not a trace of fear or hesitation marks her response: it is a ringing, confident, jubilant ‘Yes!’ to God.
    • Lord, give me Mary’s confidence and generosity of spirit. I ask not just to listen to your voice and do your will, but to do it joyfully and fearlessly. Let me answer your call with an exultant ‘Yes!’ because I know that my journey into the unknown will be made radiant by your transfiguring presence.
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    • I imagine that am invited to stay with Elizabeth and Mary for the three months they spent together. I observe what they say and do, and how quietly happy they both are, as they each carry the mystery of God in their wombs.
    • Mary praises the God who turns human history upside down. God scatters the proud, pulls down the mighty, and dismisses the rich. In their place he exalts the unimportant ones and feeds the starving. Do I value the despised and down-trodden of this world above the famous and the wealthy? I talk to Mary about this.
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    • Mary realised that she was blessed, that great things had happened in her life. She saw the source of them and gave thanks to God. She inspires and helps me to appreciate goodness and to give thanks to God, its source.
    • As well as acknowledging God’s goodness, I lay before God my thirsts for justice, peace and equality. I look forward to the day when God will satisfy the hungry.
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    • With Mary, I count my blessings, not as a matter of pride or achievement, but to recognise where God is at work in my life.
    • Pride and humility are in the picture as Mary prays her Magnificat. Mary rejoices in being a blessed, lowly servant. I think of how this description relates to how I am now.