Advent Reflection #22
Mary’s status as “favored one” places her in elite company. Her psalm-like praise, or Magnificat, certainly continues to show her maturity and importance for later generations.
Read the words again. Try to imagine that you are a young, poor, engaged girl, facing the potential of losing everything you know and love because of what you just agreed to. Sure you know that God will provide for you, but that doesn’t mean that your life will be easy – look at the prophets, after all.
Mary’s prayer is a prayer of justice. She understands what is at stake and how long Israel has been waiting for this moment. She knows, even at a young age, of the injustice of the world. She knows the reality of inequality. In the Angel’s promise, though, she sees the ways of the world cracking and crumbling. No longer will people have to say, “well this is just how it is,” in regard to their plight. For One is coming, and she would bring him. The promise was being fulfilled, the great plan of redemption was at its climax. The silence was over: God was here.
The words of Mary’s prayer may be difficult for some. Her words contain rebuke and judgement upon those who oppress, upon the rich who pretend to be Lord over the poor. There is nothing in inherently wrong with wealth (remember some the folks Jesus willingly hangs out with – his ministry was even supported by a group of wealthy women), but it can enslave you. Such enslavement was at an end, or at least its end was beginning. Mary knew all these things, and she rejoiced.
What might you learn from Mary’s prayer? Does it make you uncomfortable? Why or why not? What changes might you need to make in order to hear these words as good news and hope?
“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Born To Set Thy People Free.”