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Daily Bible Verses Advent & Christmas | The Magnificat

Audio Bible | Advent | Magnificat

Luke 1: 46-56 – 22nd December Weekday (Audio Bible, Spoken Word)

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

In this, the Magnificat, Mary’s soul overflows with joy as she contemplates the wonderful blessing God has bestowed on her, surpassing indeed the gifts to any other person in history. Through her obedience and humility, Mary has been magnified herself by the Lord, such that we now recognize her greatness and call her blessed – each day, indeed, as we recite or sing the canticle as part of evening prayer.

Mary praises the strength and justice of God. He is a force at work in the world, scattering the proud and the boastful, upending the vanities of the world, feeding the hungry and exalting those of low degree, the poor, the oppressed, and the socially neglected. There is a revolutionary spirit to her words, to her Messianic vision, which recall Samuel’s mother Hannah’s prayer – with which Mary would have been very familiar:

AND Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. (1 Samuel 2: 1-10)

The Lord was with Samuel, ‘and did let none of his words fall to the ground’, and his word came to all Israel; he was prophet and judge. Through God’s blessing of Mary and through her perfect obedience, Christ will be born to fulfil the prayers, hopes and expectations of ages. A young woman’s joyful response to the Lord, to praise and thank the Lord for the child she carries, expands into a vision of God’s active presence with the people of Israel through history, which in itself carries the knowledge that the kingdom of God is now come in the person of Jesus. There is here a grand sense of the purpose of history up to this point, and this is aligned with a vision of the new generations to come, as the immense human family of the future worships Christ.

‘Now anyone who refuses to humble himself simply cannot be saved, nor can he say with the prophet: “Behold, the Lord is my helper; it is God who lifts up my life.” But whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ St Bede