Today’s gospel is absolutely one of my favorites. It is Mary’s Magnificat. In her humility – in her “situation” -without fear or reservation, she unabashedly sings the praises of her God. The thought of it all amazes and astounds me. I stand in awe of her.
It was only a few years ago that someone pointed out to me that Mary’s song of praise after conceiving the Savior bears a striking resemblance to Hannah’s song of praise after conceiving Samuel. You see, Hannah had been barren for years. Mary had not “known man.” Nothing is impossible for God!
This similarity between the songs of praise shows that Mary, being a good Jewish girl, must have been very familiar with the scriptures, even though the bible, as we know it hadn’t been compiled yet. How I wish that I knew my bible this well.
I think this will be one of my personal new years resolutions – first of all to finish reading the bible from cover to cover – then to work on really getting to know scripture. So much of God is revealed through His Word. Surely one way to know (and in turn) love Him better would be to study and meditate upon scripture more often.
Here are the two songs of praise below: Notice the similarities – and the simple beauty of these women’s words:
1 Samuel 2: 1-10
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
Luke 1: 46-55
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And 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 mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”