My Soul Magnifies the Lord


And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor 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 her about three months and then returned to her home.

[Luke 1:46-56]


La Scapigliata (Head of a Woman), Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1508.

Mary’s faith is so great that her state of mind has completely transformed from when she hesitantly asked the angel Gabriel “How can this be?” that she would carry the Son of God. Now, she has no traces of doubt of God’s power as she joyfully exalts God.


The Magnificat reminds us of how selfless Mary is–though she says that “all generations will call me blessed,” she predicts that her admiration will be because of what God has done. She actively directs attention away from her own words, saying that “my soul magnifies the Lord” as if her joy is so great and profound that she can’t adequately describe it.


Next, Mary completely turns away from herself and exalts how amazing God is in five powerful contrasts that celebrate how God lifts up the needy. He has “brought down the mighty” and “exalted those of humble estate.” He has “filled the hungry” and sent away the rich. In Mary’s view, the immaculate conception is another miracle in the same vein as the ones she describes here.


We might consider the person God chose to carry the Son of God–until then, she was a poor, ordinary girl. That God chose Mary shows us, and inspires us to emulate, God’s constant commitment to “exalt those of humble estate.” This Advent season,  consider what God has called you to do, even if you seem to be an unlikely choice for that task. Can you answer God’s call with the grace and joy of Mary’s Magnificat?



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