And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit exults in God my savior!
He has looked upon his servant in her lowliness,
and people forever will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
Holy is his Name!
From age to age his mercy extends
to those who live in his presence.
He has acted with power and done wonders,
and scattered the proud with their plans.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones
and lifted up those who are downtrodden.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He held out his hand to Israel, his servant,
for he remembered his mercy,
even as he promised our fathers,
Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.
Today we have an excellent biblical lesson. The first reading tells us of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Eli on Hannah, the barren woman who became the mother of Samuel. The responsorial psalm is the mother’s canticle, a drawing of Mary’s canticle. In fact we find in it joy, thanksgiving, confidence in the strength of God, victory over mighty and exaltation of weak, hungry and childless. The Lord lifts up the lowly and the poor, to give them a glorious throne.
The criteria of God are beyond the criteria of this world. The preference of the Lord is in the lowly and weak rather than in the high and strong, because the latter are easily proud while the first trust in Him with open hearts.
In Mary’s canticle we find similar expressions, but now the reason is higher. It is not the birth from a barren woman, but the birth of a virgin one, and the child is not a prophet but the Emmanuel. So the victory is complete; the enemy is defeated; the hope of the poor is fulfilled; and the promises to Abraham are accomplished.
Let us ask Hannah and Mary to pour out on us the same spirit of joy and thanksgiving that comes from God and that prepares us for his coming.
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