Today, July 2nd, we commemorate Our Lady’s Visitation in which our Lord Jesus and His Mother performed His first miracle, to free John the Baptist from original sin by baptizing him while he was yet unborn. This beautiful feast invites us to enter into the intimate life of our Savior, healing and sanctifying souls almost immediately after the Incarnation. It also is the testimony of the Holy Ghost to the sanctity of life from the moment of conception. So much to savor in this delightful scene from Holy Scripture!
The Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid;
For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generations to them that fear Him.
He hath shewed might in His arm:
He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
And hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath helped Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy:
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.” [Luke 1, 46-55]
Our Lady’s Hymn of Praise
Luke’s Gospel tells us that:
When Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.” [Luke 1, 41-45].
Now, this remarkable event was the occasion of the very first miracle wrought by Our Lord Jesus Christ and it tells us a couple of important things:
First, Jesus worked this miracle before He was born on the as yet unborn infant son of Elizabeth, John.
Second, Jesus worked this miracle through the Blessed Virgin Mary. The fact that Jesus thus effected His first two miracles through His most Holy Mother is significant, although little noted in the conciliar Church today.
Note that Elizabeth “was filled with the Holy Ghost” when she said, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” This means that Elizabeth’s praise of Mary was inspired by the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit, referred to earlier in Luke 1, 35, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee.”
To understand the Magnificat, consider that even as Elizabeth praised Mary, Mary responded with a hymn of praise to God. Mary, as the creature most perfect, most beloved of God, acknowledges that she is nothing without God. This perfect humility in Mary, this perfect obedience to God’s will in all things is what makes our devotion to Mary so beneficial. Mary is our quickest, surest way to the Heart of her beloved Son.
“My soul doth magnify the Lord.” How can a mere mortal “magnify” the Divine Lord? In the pure, clear soul of the Immaculata, God’s glory is reflected back as a mirror reflects back the brightness of the blazing sun. This image alone is such a rich source of contemplation, it would take volumes to begin to express properly.
Mary then proclaims, “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.” In this, she confirms that she is only the servant of God, her Saviour. When, in the Magnificat Mary refers to herself as “His handmaid”, it is the second time she has done so. The first was when she said at the Annunciation, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” By this repetition, Mary is emphasizing the importance of her humble obedience. Mary’s entire role in the salvation of mankind is based on humility and obedience.
The following verse, “behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”, is overlooked by those who reject devotion to Mary. Our Blessed Mother quickly adds to that verse, “Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His name”. Thus, we see that Mary always keeps the divine order, and never fails to attribute her every blessing to God alone. It is impossible to be truly devoted to Mary and not at the same time adore the most Holy Trinity; Mary is the most beloved Daughter of God the Father, the most pure Mother of God the Son and the most glorious Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Thus, Mary’s entire worth is in her perfect reflection of God.
Mary’s hymn reflects also her adoration of God’s most sacred name, “Holy is His name.” This, of course is our first duty and Mary’s hymn exemplifies this exquisitely. The Magnificat is a salutary prayer to remedy the all-pervasive blasphemy of these times.