HOW DOES YOUR MAGNIFICAT GO?
Mary’s Magnificat is a prayer and song (“canticle”) we have all known and loved, and sung, since our early years. It is so positive, so full of thanksgiving and praise, so uplifting, so learned, so inspired and inspiring, so filled with hope, so encouraging. It comes over almost as a defiant song of victory over any and every enemy.
The first part of it deals with what Mary came to understand of God as the result of the conception of Jesus. It tells us her “conclusions” as to what God is like on the basis of the tremendous and unique experience she has had of him. The second part goes beyond Mary’s own particular experience to reflect on how God deals universally, with all humanity.
At a time when things around us can seem bleak or at least uncertain, the Magnificat is like a double-barrelled shotgun being fired across the bow to awaken us to God’s action in our own lives and in the world. God will rescue those who are weak and lowly, who are poor in spirit, who are downtrodden and outcast. He did it for Israel, but he has done it above all for the whole of humanity by means of his death and resurrection. Those who believe and trust in him have experienced and will experience his salvation.
The thing is, though, that we are also right now experiencing God’s presence and power – if we would just slow down, stop, reflect and enter deeply within our hearts. Salvation is not a concept but a permanent experience of grace. That’s because it is a permanent activity, in us and in the world, of our loving Triune God. In Mass, sacraments, the Word and prayer we may experience it more clearly. But the presence of the incarnate Christ, from the moment Mary conceived him, permeates continuously the whole of creation, is “ongoingly” saving us with very breath we take – if, we want it!
What, then, has the Almighty done for you? What marvels has he worked? What has he cast down and out from your life, and maybe from your own soul, so as to lift you up? What hungers in your heart and soul has he filled? How has he put forth the strength of his arm and scattered the proud-hearted in your life, and maybe even the pride that once was in your own heart? How has he remembered his mercy in your life out of his fidelity to the covenant he made with you when you were baptised?
Mary’s is not the only Magnificat that can be written and sung: how does yours go?