And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Luke 1: 46-55
Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.
~Luci Shaw from “Mary’s Song”
Mary’s song (the Magnificat) is a celebration of how the glory of God causes an unexpected turning of the world:
the proud are scattered,
the mighty brought down,
the humble exalted,
the hungry are filled
and the rich emptied.
This is revolution by reversal — not good news for the high and mighty, powerful and rich — and a reminder that those with plenty have great responsibility to those less fortunate.
Yet Mary’s song sings a truth pertinent to the mission of Christ on earth:
He arrives lowly, lives humbly and dies despised. His impact is from His words and actions, not from riches, political influence or the wielding of mighty weapons.
Her song puts a microscope on the revolution about to take place, within her and outside her, due to Christ, indeed a turning of the tainted soil of the world from the planting of the Seed of God. His presence on earth magnifies within her as He grows in her womb, then blooms and fruits on earth, glorified in His life, death and resurrection.
Let the singing begin!
My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the one who waits.
You fixed your sight on the servant’s plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears,
For the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.
Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me.
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.
From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
every tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
These are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.
Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forbears heard
is the promise that holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.
Words: Rory Cooney (1990)
Music: STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN (Irish Traditional Folk Song)