What is it with the Catholics and Mary? I get the question a lot. Wear a Miraculous medal, be seen walking out of a Catholic church now and again, and you probably do, too.
At Mass on the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis helped us know the answer better: by living life to the tune of Magnificat, letting its words apply to the days of our lives. He called it “the song of hope … the song of the People of God walking through history.”
Pope Francis said that the Magnificat is:
the song many saints, men and women, some famous, and very many others unknown to us but known to God: mums, dads, catechists, missionaries, priests, sisters, young people, even children and grandparents: these have faced the struggle of life while carrying in their heart the hope of the little and the humble. Mary says: “My souls glorifies the Lord” — today, the Church too sings this in every part of the world. This song is particularly strong in places where the Body of Christ is suffering the Passion. For us Christians, wherever the Cross is, there is hope, always. If there is no hope, we are not Christian. That is why I like to say: do not allow yourselves to be robbed of hope. May we not be robbed of hope, because this strength is a grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven. And Mary is always there, near those communities, our brothers and sisters, she accompanies them, suffers with them, and sings the Magnificat of hope with them.
It is a song for everyday. Why we ever want to face a day without it? Her life and love help us with our fiat — our yes — to God’s call to each one of us, as we walk through history. And the Blessed Mother walks with us, bringing us only ever closer to our Savior.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit! …. thanks be to God we’re never alone.
In his homily, the Holy Father described Mary as “our Mother, but we can also say that she is our representative, our sister, our eldest sister, she is the first of the redeemed, who has arrived in heaven.” She “experienced the martyrdom of the Cross: the martyrdom of her heart, the martyrdom of her soul,” he reflected. “She lived her Son’s Passion to the depths of her soul. She was fully united to him in his death, and so she was given the gift of resurrection. Christ is the first fruits from the dead and Mary is the first of the redeemed, the first of ‘those who are in Christ.’”
Why would we ever choose not to follow? Catholics’ thing with Mary has something to do with the fact we need all the help we need, and who better than the woman who said yes to God and gave birth to the Incarnation — God Himself — to be our model, our Mother, always bringing us closer to the Sacred Heart of Christ?
(And, yes, the monthly Magnificat always has its namesake in the back for easy access, along with other magnificently nourishing offerings — my friends there offer spiritual guidance with their beautiful content, presentation, and reliability.)