Reflections on the Immaculate Conception
My soul magnifies the Lord And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; Because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name; And His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him. He has shown might with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
Jeanne Brolan, SMIC Associate
As I read these words, I can just vision this young Jewish girl studying the words of the Prophets. We know her family and her extended family were priestly people so she must have been well educated on the Old Testament. Mary’s response to the angel tells us she is very familiar with Isaiah 43 because she knew how to respond to the angel of the Lord. Her heart must have been filled with the words of Isaiah for she understood to trust in the Lord without fear. She understood that she was indeed precious and glorious in God’s eyes. She had the wisdom to know the power of her God and that no matter what was to come into her life and that of her child she would not be consumed by those events because God loved her, God called her by name. Her knowledge of the Old Testament gave her the courage not to be afraid.
I have often read these words that Mary spoke in her response to the angel and looked at them as her holy words. I saw a young girl being able to give this response because she already started out in this world as being without sin. I would read the Magnificat with the understanding that Mary was teaching us how to respond with a Yes to God’s plan for her and for us. I would read it and pray that Mary would guide me and help me say yes but I did not look for anything else in Mary’s response. I did not see any other connection. I only saw Mary was this very holy woman who had wisdom beyond human wisdom. Her words were for God.
Now I know this beautiful prayer is an example for us. It is not just in our “Yes” to God’s plan for us but on how we must understand God’s goodness and have faith that no matter what comes into our life, our God will protect us. Mary had studied the wisdom of the prophets so she knew the power of the Lord. This young woman is saying “Yes, Yes! Lord I will carry this child without fear.” She is saying, “I don’t know how my world will accept me with child but I let go of my concerns and trust in your ways.” Her example is not just how to say yes but how to trust; she is showing us how to let go of fear and just know the power of the Lord will take care of every moment from the time the Yes is uttered.
In this one faith filled response Mary is giving us the tools for life. “My soul Magnifies the Lord, “Mary is telling us God is in us and we are in God. When we take time to contemplate of this “Awe” concept we can see how precious we are in the eyes of our God. Fear is such a big distress in our individual worlds. Mary is telling us how mighty God is, she is showing us how to let go and fully accept that our God will not let our troubles consume us, all we have to do is say Yes and let go of our fear. She is sharing with us how God sees us as we trust in His mercy. Mary is the living example of what the Isaiah writes about. If the only tools in life we had were Isaiah 43 and Mary’s Magnificat we would have what we need to function very well as people of God