Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dangerous, subversive, blessed: Mary

After I began using the Daily Office as a regular part of prayer time, I was astounded to discover the Magnificat.

At first, I thought it was one of the ancient songs of the Church, similar to the Te Deum. It's beauty appealed to me, but more than that, it's radical words led me to believe that it might have even been recent in origin.

But I soon learned that besides its Latin name, which comes from the first line of the song in that language: "Magnificat anima mea Dominum." And that those words are simply the Latin translations of Luke 1:46-55:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
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 powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.
What an amazingly powerful song! And who knew that it had been hiding out in the open all those years that I had been reading the Christmas story in Luke.

It turns out that this song isn't the only dangerous, subversive thing Mary did during her life. Her revolutionary character is discussed in a great article on Christianity Today that got me thinking about this in the first place.

Read the whole article.

FEELING: A little stressed, thanks to exams
LISTENING TO: O Come All Ye Faithful

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