Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Magnificat

Magnificat

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever." (Luke 1:46-55, ESV)

The name, Magnificat, is the name given to the "hymn" attributed to Mary when the Angel, Gabriel informs her that God has chosen her to be the woman who gives birth to the Messiah. The Magnificat is a "hymn" of praise to God since he has remembered His covenantal promises to Israel. This portion of Scripture receives its name, Magnificat, from the first line in the Latin Vulgate (4th century Latin version of the Greek bible), Magnificat anima mea Dominum. 

The Magnificat is very Jewish in nature. It is  an individual thanksgiving Psalm and it uses Hebraic parallelism and Old Testament phrases, most of which are from the Psalms in its composition. The first part of this "praise" deals with Mary praising God for her selection. The second part deals with the principles supporting God's action.

The main thought in the Magnificat is that God will destroy the proud, exalt the humble, and that God will remember his promises to his people. God deals with men in a consistent pattern - exaltation of the humble and the humiliation of the proud. Mary praises God because with the birth of the Messiah, Israel's hope of exaltation is now being realized.

A very important and major reminder needs to be given at this point: God did not choose Mary because she was sinless, perfect, or in any way earned or deserved this honor. Mary was no different than any other female in the land of Israel at that time. Mary was born spiritually dead in trespasses and sin and needed a Savior and Messiah like any other individual who was born at that time or since. God simply extended grace, unmerited and undeserved favor to this young woman. Mary is not the mother of God nor is she the Queen of Heaven. Mary looked for the Messiah to fulfill his promises like every other pious Jew of her day and God simply chose her, as he chose all of the elect to be a recipient of his grace and his salvation based on his own council and good will. There was nothing in Mary that caused God to choose her for this honor. Every Jewish woman since Eve wanted to be the "one" to bear the Messiah. God chose her for the same reason (s) he chose his elect to be redeemed - HIS MARVELOUS MERCY AND GRACE.

This is a hymn from a heart that understands the grace and blessedness of God's favor. Joy and expectation runs through Mary's Psalm of praise. It is my prayer that you too take joy in and continue to rejoice in the birth of the Messiah, the only and unique Son of God, our Lord and Savior!

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2010 A-Z Challenge: M is for Mission Field
2011 A-Z Challenge: M is for Magnificat

11 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A post most beatifully written.
Thanks Gregg.

Yvonne.

JD Curtis said...

The Magnificat is a "hymn" of praise to God since he has remembered His covenantal promises to Israel

Yes, and not to get off topic or anythng, but there are those who would argue that such covenants form the basis for government in the beginnings of what is now the United States.

Link: http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/24202

Angela Felsted said...

I like the musical versions of the Magnificat written over the years. Works by great composers like Bach. Such beautiful sounds.

Penned Pebbles said...

Glorious God exalting prayer! Great M post!

Cathy M. said...

Amen. I didn't know the part about how it got its name. Love learning new things here.

Robyn Campbell said...

My God, I love you so very much. I didn't deserve what my Lord and Savior did for me. But I know one thing for sure. It is by your unchanging love and grace that I will be with you one day. I look forward to coming home. And thank you for bringing Gregg into my life. He's an overflowing well of encouragement.

Gregg, I love your blog. I learn new things here every day. Thank you for teaching me. :-)

*The Old Geezer said...

A most interesting "M" topic. The Magnificat is not usually the subject of conversation or sermons this time of the year.

I like your reminder that Mary's prayer is very Jewish in nature. Often Christians do not understand our historical roots and connection to Jewish people.

Heather Henry said...

Gregg, I always learn something magnificent and new when I visit you. I have done a lot of Bible studies over the years, but I have to say I don't recall learning this. Then again, I don't have the most reliable memory.
This is beautiful, thank you! :)
Have a wonderful weekend!

Susan said...

Hi Gregg,

Beautiful.

:-)

Diane said...

"Mary was no different than any other female in the land of Israel at that time. Mary was born spiritually dead in trespasses and sin and needed a Savior and Messiah like any other individual who was born at that time or since."

Oh, how my heart breaks for those who believe otherwise.
Thank you Gregg.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

This is beautiful post, Gregg. And what a learning about The Magnificat.

I loved the reflection about Mary being just like any other woman, chosen only by God's Mercy and Grace.

Doris