My husband and I broke this Word open yesterday with two friends who are priests. The Magnificat, also called the Canticle of Mary, found in the Gospel of Luke (1: 46-55) begins with "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."
These were only a few of the words of the canticle Mary proclaimed as she was greeting Elizabeth, her cousin, after the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to announce she would be the Mother of God.
It seemed a fitting day to converse about the Magnificat. It was the Feast of St. Joachim and St. Ann, parents of Mary. From a sermon by St. John Damascene, found in The Liturgy of the Hours yesterday, we read these words, "Rejoice, Ann, ...Rejoice Joachim, because from your daughter a child is born for us...Rejoice in God, all the earth. Sing, exult and sing hymns."
So this invitation to rejoice became united with the rejoicing of Mary in the Magnificat giving us a sense of that holy family who were a beautiful reflection of the holy Church that bears fruit in the world.
After listening to John Michael Talbot's song "Holy is His Name" and pondering the words, one by one we began to share.
First, one priest said, "What resonates with me is 'my soul proclaims...' I realize that is something from the deepest level--the soul and it's with my whole being. I had to ask myself the question, 'Does my soul proclaim your greatness?' and 'How does my soul proclaim?' My sense was there's more and that the Lord is calling me deeper to proclaim His greatness at a deeper level."
Then another one said, "I was drawn to the various verb tenses in the verses. There was has, will, and is. 'He has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid...all generations will call me blessed..., and holy is His name.' I am reminded of the Church's prayer '...as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever...' The past, present and future tenses--the timelessness resonates with me."
And my husband shared, "I thought of a magnifying glass. It's something that makes small things appear bigger. Mary's soul makes the Lord's even larger."
Our prayer together became "Oh Lord, show us how to proclaim your greatness from the depths of our soul, by taking us deeper. We say 'Yes' to this. Help us to understand more about the timelessness of your Word, and give us the grace to magnify you, to bring you into clearer view for others as Mary did."