'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exalts in God my Savior, for He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed. God Who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is His Name...' (Luke 1:46-49)
Was this the only time Mary burst forth with praise of God? Of course not. Her later words of exaltation do not have to be recorded for us to know for certain that she spoke them. She who was sinless, holy, utterly dedicated to God, and living with Jesus within the very walls of her home... how could it be possible for her not to have uttered countless 'magnificats?'
When Jesus took His first steps, Mary was watching.
When He spoke His first words, when He lay sleeping in her arms - can we imagine the praise within her?
As Mary prayed in the temple, cared for her home, prepared meals for her little family, surely she worshiped through it all.
In my daily life, sometimes I reflect upon Mary's magnificats. Going on my little 'visitations' to those around me, I try to remember that in the midst of her Visitation, Mary gave thanks.
I, too, am called by God to proclaim His greatness, sometimes within hearing of those around me, sometimes in the quiet of my heart. The mighty things God has done for me are quite different from what He did for Mary... but He has done some great things nonetheless.
In joyous moments, do I remember to exalt Him? When I have an opportunity, do I proclaim the greatness of the Lord? And what about the sad times - what then? I have no doubt that even in her worst moments, Mary's heart could (and did) cry 'holy is His Name.'
When tough times come to my own life, I have a Mother who can assist me. I think she can help me find the will to praise.
When Jesus took His last steps, Mary was watching.
When He spoke His last words, Mary was there to hear them. 'John, behold your mother. Father forgive them. It is finished.' She was there when He was taken from the Cross.
Scripture gives us no record of what Mary said when Jesus was placed in her arms that last time. We can only imagine. We do know that her heart, her tender, motherly heart, was pierced and broken. Did she utter actual words? We do not know. But we are certain of the attitude of Mary, and we know that her decision to trust and to praise would have been there, even then.
In my imagination, I can almost hear it.
'My soul proclaims the
greatness of the Lord;
my spirit exalts
in God my Savior...
God Who is mighty
has done great
things for me.
Holy is His Name.'
Text not in quotes
Paintings top to bottom:
Visitation by Ubaldo Gandolfi
Virgin and Child with St Anne by Leonardo da Vinci
Pietà by Giovanni Segala