Monday, December 18, 2006


"...Mary sang,
'My soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the low estate of his servant!

Behold, from henceforth all generations
shall call me blessed;
for he who is mighty hath done for me great things,
and holy is his name!

And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation!

He hath shown strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he hath brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of low estate;
he hath filled the hungry with good things,
but the rich he hath sent away empty.

He hath helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever!'"

- Luke 1:46-55

Mary's song in Luke 1, traditionally called "the Magnificat", emphasizes the fact that God has, through the miracle of the Incarnation, "brought down" the proud and "exalted those of low estate". Looking closely, we see that through the child in Mary's maidenly womb, God has reversed the status systems that humankind created. Suddenly, the lowly, the oppressed, the marginalized are saved, liberated, and embraced by heaven, though they have experienced rejection and alienation on earth.

How are we exalting the lowly this Christmas season? If the season is to be more than lovely music and pretty images, isn't Mary's inspirational song a wonderful challenge for the Church? In what ways are we living the "reversed" life, recognizing that the marginalized are to be exalted? How faithful is the Church to the hopes of the Magnificat?

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