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THE MAGNIFICAT [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
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Posted on 08/15/2011 4:40:47 PM PDT by Salvation


Picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth in the Visitation by Philippe de Champagne courtesy of Wikipedia

The Magnificat, taken from Luke’s Gospel (1:46-55), is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s hymn of praise to the Lord. It is also known as the Canticle of Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours, a special collection of scripture readings, psalms, and hymns that constitute what is known as the prayer of the church. (Priests and other religious are required to pray sections from the Liturgy of the Hours each day.)

Although the Magnificat has had numerous musical settings from such composers as Palestrina, Bach and Mozart, it can be recited as well as sung. Its name comes from the first line of its text in Latin (“Magnificat anima mea Dominum”) translated in the first line below. Mary proclaims the Lord’s greatness with characteristic humility and grace here.

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.

The Magnificat provides great material for meditation on the Visitation, the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, pictured above. When the angel Gabriel informs Mary that she is to be the Mother of God, he also tells her of her Cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist.

After Mary gives her famous consent to becoming the Mother of God, -- “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38) -- she goes “with haste” (1:39) to help Elizabeth, who is delighted to see her. Our Lady then expresses her joy in the Magnificat.

Clearly Mary, in hastening to help her cousin, is focused on service to others. In this way she glorifies the Lord in reflecting (and “magnifying”) His goodness and love. And, of course by becoming the Mother of God she will help Him redeem us for our salvation in His Passion!

Speaking of magnifying, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once referred to our Blessed Mother as being like “a magnifying glass that intensifies our love of her Son.”

Note that Mary’s joyful claim that “all generations shall call me blessed” in no way takes away from her humility. If she seems to boast here, it is much as St. Paul does later on in scripture when he says “whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17), that is to say, in God’s work being done through us.

In this regard, the Magnificat is more than a prayer of praise. It also reminds us about the essential link between humility and holiness. Just as God has “regarded the lowliness of his handmaid” and “has done great things” for Mary in making her the Mother of his Son, so too “he has put down the mighty from their thrones (with his own might!) and has exalted the lowly.”

(Note also our Blessed Mother’s humility in referring to herself in this prayer, as she does in giving her consent to Gabriel mentioned earlier, as the Lord’s handmaid, his servant!)

As her Divine Son later stressed “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:12, also in slightly different words in Luke 18:14 and Luke 14:11).

Jesus wasn’t saying anything new here, either! We read similar thoughts in throughout the Old Testament such as in the Psalms and in this example from the book of Sirach “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” (Sirach 3:19)

The line about God filling “the hungry with good things” resonates later in the Gospels as well, when our Lord says “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled” (Matt 5:7). This serves as a good reminder for us to “stay hungry” for God’s graces in praying and in reading His word in scripture.

And as for the rich being sent away empty? This line refers to those who live for wealth and power and feel they have everything figured out. These people in, effect wish to be Gods rather than God’s. How can our Lord fill those who are already full--of themselves?

How about you? Does your soul magnify the Lord? We may never be able to approach Him from Mary’s level of sanctity as the Mother of God. Still, we are all called to be saints nonetheless.

Your good example, like our Blessed Mother’s, can help others in their spiritual growth. Do people see Christ’s love and goodness in you? Are you letting God work within you to accomplish His will? Let Mary help give you the graces you need to follow her Son and His Church in praying the Magnificat.

As St. Ambrose once said in referring to this wonderful prayer, "Let Mary's soul be in us to glorify the Lord; let her spirit be in us that we may rejoice in God our Saviour."

TOPICS: Catholic; History; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: blessedvirginmary; catholic; prayer
In today's Gospel!
1 posted on 08/15/2011 4:40:57 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: All
This is a Catholic/Orthodox Caucus thread.

Guidelines for Catholic/Orthodox Caucus Threads

2 posted on 08/15/2011 4:41:43 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Praying with Mary

Praying with Mary

She shows us that we each have a song to sing.

Praying with Mary

Mary’s Song, called the Magnificat, tells us more than any other gospel story just how Mary approached prayer (Luke 1:46-55). Mary had heard that her long-barren cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, and so she went to visit her.

When they met, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb jumped for joy, and Elizabeth herself proclaimed Mary as “most blessed” among women (1:39-45). Mary was so moved by all that was happening around her that this beautiful prayer practically tumbled out of her—a prayer of praise and gratitude for the God who was doing such marvelous things.

At the beginning of her song, Mary expresses her love for God by saying, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Luke 1:46). Then she goes on to express a key spiritual principle that Scripture illustrates over and over again:

God chooses the lowly and the humble over the proud, even though the proud are often more educated and more qualified. Mary saw that God reaches out to the needy. She understood that God sends his strength to those who know that they are weak, and his grace to those who know they cannot survive without it. By contrast, he leaves those who do not see any need for him empty and barren (1:52-53).

Just as Elizabeth announced Mary as blessed among women, the angel Gabriel greeted her as the “favored one,” acknowledging that the Lord was with her in a special way (Luke 1:28). Just as the rain falls from the sky and fills our rivers and streams, so the grace of God flowed from heaven and filled Mary completely. Divine grace perfected her, and that is why she was able to become God’s handmaid—and even his mother— to such a complete extent.

Mary’s Magnificat disposition allowed God to do in her the very thing he wants to do in us—transform her into his likeness. What Mary did not understand when Gabriel first met her, she eventually found out (Luke 1:34). What she did not know when her young son told her “Did you not know that I must be in my father’s house?” (2:49), she eventually came to understand. Whenever Jesus did something that was new and unexpected, Mary’s first thought was always to take careful note and ponder it prayerfully.

A Song from the Heart. So what does Mary’s Magnificat teach us? It shows us that Mary wanted to honor God with her whole being; it shows us that she was mindful of the great things God had already done for his people; and it shows that she was willing to do whatever God asked of her.

Just like Mary, each of us has our own song that we sing to the Lord. This song is our response to whatever work of grace he is accomplishing in us. In Mary’s case, her song became her very philosophy of life. It was her song that guided her, not the various circumstances she faced—not even the possibility of divorce, Herod’s murderous wrath, or of the agony of watching her son endure a torturous death.

This is not to say that Mary was unaffected by what happened around her. It did mean that she wanted the decisions she made in these circumstances to be influenced by the Spirit’s leading. Similarly, our song to the Lord will be as rich as Mary’s as we learn to tell Jesus: “I need your grace because I want to do your will in everything—in the joyful times of life, in the challenging times, and in the painful times as well.”

3 posted on 08/15/2011 4:43:00 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Assumption and Magnificat Ping!

4 posted on 08/15/2011 4:47:14 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Bachs Magnificat has to be considered one of the 5 greatest works of art in human history.

5 posted on 08/15/2011 5:34:09 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny (Public employee unions are the barbarian hordes of our time.)
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To: Salvation
Cranmer's translation is slightly different:

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost : as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

6 posted on 08/15/2011 6:02:13 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Psycho_Bunny
My parents named their first Siamese cat Magnificat, because they were singing the Bach in the cathedral choir.

My little Lilac Point is currently the holder of the name.

7 posted on 08/15/2011 6:38:07 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

**For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.**

This is the line I think I love best— right there in the Bible!

8 posted on 08/15/2011 8:49:19 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

I am a Presbyterian with Catholic leanings and although I hold some major theological differences with Rome with regard to views about Mary, I do appreciate this post and lament the extreme apathy Protestantism seems to perpetuate towards Mary and her grand significance.

9 posted on 08/16/2011 2:09:04 AM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege (Palin 2012)
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To: Salvation

Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

10 posted on 08/16/2011 6:43:19 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Palin in 2012)
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To: CondoleezzaProtege

I appreciate your most kind post. Thanks so much. I think you put in words what many of us feel.

11 posted on 08/16/2011 8:45:12 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

does anyone know how to upload a word file i created with text and pics?

12 posted on 08/16/2011 2:51:22 PM PDT by haole (John 10 30)
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