magnificat

i think part of the reason I harp so much on reading the Magnificat is because

1) a short while ago, I was talking to a lapsed Catholic friend of mine about Mary, and it rapidly became clear that she had never read the Magnificat—when I showed it to her, she asked “who wrote it?” and when I told her it was in the Gospel of Luke, she was genuinely surprised and said she had assumed it was, like, an apocryphal text

2) “more significant than any of Mary’s actions is her willingness to bear witness and reflect” is a piece of actual Mariology that I had to read with my own two eyes

My soul magnifies the Holy One,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for She has looked with favor on the lowliness of Her servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is Her name.
Her mercy is for those who fear Her
   from generation to generation.
She has shown strength with Her arm;
   She has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
She has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
She has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
—  Mary’s Song of Praise, Luke 1:46-53
Magnificat
Monk's Choir of the Liguge Abbey
Magnificat

Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,

et exsultávit spíritus meus in Deo, salutári meo,

quia respéxit humilitátem ancíllæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beátam me dicent omnes generatiónes,

quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est et sanctum nomen eius,

et misericórdia eius, a progénie in progénies timéntibus eum.

Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo, dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;

depósuit poténtes de sede et exaltávit húmiles;  

esuriéntes implévit bonis et dívites dimísit inánes.                    

Suscépit Israël púerum suum, recordátus misericórdiæ suæ.              

Sicut locútus est ad patres nostros: Ábraham, et sémini eius in sæcula.

When will this inner night—the universe—end
And I—my soul—have my day?
When will I wake up from being awake?
I don’t know. The sun shines on high
And cannot be looked at.
The stars coldly blink
And cannot be counted.
The heart beats aloofly
And cannot be heard.
When will this drama without theater
—Or this theater without drama—end
So that I can go home?
Where? How? When?
—  Fernando Pessoa, from “Magnificat,“ A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems (Penguin Classics, 2006)
The Magnificat does not tell a tale of God meeting a prideful sinner. Rather, it tells a tale of God meeting a woman whom society had seen as insignificant and giving her a new status (as an exemplar of faith alongside Abraham, Job, and Esther) as well as a new sense of agency in God’s coming reign (as a prophetic witness alongside the prophets of old). Her story of God’s ‘seeing’ undid not her pride, but the 'cultural unraveling’ she knew only too well. Far from recapitulating the dynamics of her previous life, Mary was transformed and entered a new beginning.
—  “Experiencing the Spirit: The Magnificat, Luther, and Feminists” by Lois Malcolm in Transformative Lutheran Theologies: Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Perspectives, edited by Mary J. Streufert, p. 172