December 22

The prayer of the Magnificat

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Lk 1,46-55

In front of the prayer of the Magnificat, by which Mary begins the messianic times and the history of the church, our meditation is silent, as when we contemplate the mystery of the cave of Bethlehem. Any comment might risk to tarnish the brilliance of the words of this Jewish woman, who shine like stars in the sky. There is one, in particular, which makes us think, because it appears to be in stark contrast with the categories of the contemporary thought: it is the word “lowliness”. It would seem to indicate to us attitudes of smallness, of insignificance, of little value. It is in this sense that sometimes people choose to present themselves in an humble way, in order to avoid the hardships and risks of the great and brave projects. But this is not true lowliness, but a convenient excuse. Mary teaches us the true lowliness: that one which comes from the awareness to be so small, but instruments of a so great God and willing to entrust to us  his projects. Then the forehead  rises and the thoughts fly high on the wings of the faith which pushes St. Paul to write in his letter to the Philippians: “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Phil 4,13). The words of the Magnificat urge us to put ourselves humbly to the  service of the Lord who, according to his plans, will perform in all of us great things, to the praise and glory of his name.

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