Lectio: The Magnificat

It is only through a denigration of motherhood that we do not venerate St. Mary, the mother of Jesus.  It is she who carried Christ in her womb through the discomfort of nine months, gave birth to Jesus through the pains of birth, nursed God incarnate upon her breast, raised him, learned from him, watched him die, and then lived in the community of believers as a grandmother of the faith after he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  Her position in the Gospels is unique–without her there would be no Jesus.

As Sojourner Truth once said, “Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.”

Perhaps the best way to honor Mary is to reflect on the longest passage attributed to her, the Magnificat.  Spend 20 minutes in lectio divina (divine reading) with this passage.  Read it slowly and prayerfully, listening to what God might be speaking to you through the passage.  What did you hear?

The Magnificat:

Luke 1:46-55

Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


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About Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan Sutterfield is a writer and Episcopal seminarian sojourning from his native Arkansas in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of This is My Body: From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey Into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit, and Deeper Faith (Convergent/Random House 2015).

  • http://nitecaravan.blogspot.com/ Br. Jay

    I LOVE the Magnificat. One could spend a month of every day meditating on the words of it, and only touch the surface. It is rich in symbols as well as encouragement to get out there and love.

  • Simon

    I love how so many outside of Catholicism and Orthodoxy (myself included) are rediscovering St Mary, the Blessed Mother of our God and Saviour. The Magnificat is most definitely one of my favourite prayers. By honouring the Blessed Virgin we come closer to Christ in a way that we cannot without her