“My spirit rejoices in God my savior”
This is not a superficial joy but is written against the whole canvas of the world’s pain. It is messianic joy, paschal joy, aware of the struggle unto death yet hopeful that the great “nevertheless” of God leads to life. In the midst of suffering and turmoil, the sense of divine presence in compassionate care offers strength. leading one to be glad that God is great. Mary magnifies God her savior, which in Elizabethan English means to celebrate the greatness or to sing and dance in praise of the goodness of someone wonderful. Her soul and her spirit do this, her whole self, her whole being, with body, mind and strength. Hers are not the words of half-hearted appreciation. She is caught up and feels herself lifted up into God’s good and gracious will. With a foretaste of eschatological delight, she breaks forth into praise and singing.
Elizabeth Johnson, 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 .
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.