Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord




Canticle 15 The Song of Mary
Magnificat Luke 1:46-55
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for 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 his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he 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 fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Have you read this prayer?  Have you heard this prayer sung?  How many times?  This prayer, this "Song of Mary," otherwise known as the Magnificat, has been set to music and is said often in Evensong in a great variety of churches.  I would say, however, that we probably need to visit it again, to attempt to see it with new eyes, to hear it with new ears, and to experience it as if we had never experienced it before.  This Song of Mary is a prayer sung to God with the awareness that God has lifted up the lowly, that God does care about the hungry, that God has remembered his promise of mercy, and that God will remember this promise to the children of Abraham for ever!  This is a song of praise and thanksgiving in awareness of God's glory, and God's compassion for all those in need, all those in turmoil, all those who suffer.  This Song of Mary is a song sung to God by a young woman who has very little materially, and this woman will suffer and will see her son suffer.  This young woman is aware of the sufferings of the world but also has had a great window opened in her awareness of God's and God's love for all God's people. The transformation of the world has begun, and Mary is aware of this illumination, this metamorphosis, this radical change that God is doing in the world.

Have you read this prayer recently?


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed


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