Feast of the Assumption of Mary
“The tether of historical concreteness makes clear that Miriam of Nazareth belonged to the world of the poor who are overlooked in the telling of history: those who lived in the colonial situation of the Roman province of Galilee, in hunger and hard work and oppression, whose villages were fiercely attacked, but who hoped for more. The gospels add theological insight. She bore a poor woman’s life with faith in the living God of Israel, believed in a gospel for the downtrodden, found a way to bring forth the Messiah, and journeyed into the new community that spearheaded Jesus’ vision for the world. Through it all she was led by the Spirit, the life giving power of Sophia God, who entered into her soul and made her a friend of God and prophet. Her distinctiveness lies in being the mother of Jesus. No one else has this bodily, psychological, social relationship to the Messiah, and, as with all human beings, the relationship is irreplaceably important for both mother and child. All the gospel tesserae note this relationship but do not leave it there. Her own faithful partnership with the Spirit, by which she heard and enacted the word of God, places her in the company of ancestors whose memory the community celebrates and finds challenging.”
Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, Truly our Sister
My soul magnifies the Lord.
Meditate on the words of Mary in the context of contemporary society.
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
He has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is God’s Name.
God has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
God has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
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,
the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
The modern woman will note with pleasant surprise that Mary of Nazareth, while completely devoted to the will of God, was far from being a timidly submissive woman or one whose piety was repellent to others; on the contrary, she was a woman who did not hesitate to proclaim that God vindicates the humble and the oppressed, and removes the powerful people of this world from their privileged positions.
Pope Paul VI
In the Magnificat, Mary moves from active nonviolence to prophetic nonviolence. With great joy and confidence, she announces God’s reign of peace and justice, and denounces the world’s reign of war and injustice. With these words, she not only sums up the message of all the prophets in a nutshell, she reveals herself as Jesus’ teacher. The entire Gospel can be found in the Magnificat.
The Magnificat is a revolutionary document of passionate conflict and vindication, calling all believers to a journey of solidarity with all oppressed peoples. Mary’s Song is the great new Canticle of Liberation, praising a God who has promised “com-unity” with those who suffer from personal and systemic injustice, and more importantly has been “faith-full” to those sustaining promises.
Daniel W. Casey, Jr.