Summary: Sometimes overlooked, Mary’s prayer is one of the most noble of Christian hymns.
LK 1:46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. :53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
In most liturgical congregations, we would recognize this prayer as “The Magnificat.”
It is often called the noblest of Christian hymns. There are traces of such earlier prayers such as the one Hannah prays when she brings her son Samuel to the Temple to dedicate him (1 Samuel 2:1 (quickview) ff). Just as with Hannah, Mary expresses her joy in the source of that joy which is God. We too should recognize that our true joy is not in ourselves but in our Savior who is the fountain of joy. This Joy is found deep within her soul and body.
To her God is:
1. Her Savior
2. He has done everything necessary to keep us from going to Hell.
He is mindful of hers and our condition.
1. We have all gone astray, yet God has chosen the lowly to exalt himself.
2. It is not those the world would select as instruments, yet God has chosen us.
3. The world selects the rich and powerful, God has chosen the poor who are rich in faith.
4. She recognizes her low estate and magnifies the God’s love.
Instead of exalting herself by the honor of being chosen to bear God’s son, she praises God for coming down, stooping to one like her.
She recognizes that this will bring her “fame”. It will be unavoidable. Yet, she chooses to exalt God.
Her prayer tells us that God
1. Extend his Mercy to all who seek him. (v.50)
2. The proud will be brought down (v. 51)
3. He cares for His servants and will see to their needs.
This is another aspect of the law of the Divine dealings. Those who feel their need and hunger after satisfaction will receive it from God. Mary experienced this and so do all who really hunger after God and righteousness. They had beatitude always in store for them. On the other hand, those who are rich, that is, who feel independent, will not look to the Lord for help will be brought down, and sent away, empty. This is what we see in the religious people of Jesus’ day. They could not bring themselves to believe that this carpenter’s son from Nazareth is the Messiah. Therefore, God brought them down.
The birth of Jesus is two-fold help. First, it is God sending real help to his people Israel. It is the crowning act of Mercy and the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham and his seed. Mary has revealed God’s holiness, His power, His mercy, and finally His faithfulness. All of these characteristics are evident in the birth of Jesus.