The Greatness of the Lord
“And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” – Luke 1:46-47
Given that this coming Saturday is a Holy Day of Opportunity (a.k.a. Obligation), I thought I would write a post about how truly awesome Mary is (the upcoming feast is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – when MARY was conceived, not Jesus as many often think!) and what an inspiration she is us for, even today.
Every evening I pray this prayer (well, I pray the whole Canticle of Mary [Luke 1:46-55] but for the purposes of this blog I’m focusing on the first two verses). Some nights I pray it and don’t even think about it, but when I really think about those words it gives me great pause.
I know that these were the words of Mary, which come to us after her cousin Elizabeth greets her with great joy. But who says that they can’t be my words too? Does my soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord? Does my spirit rejoice in God my savior? Not nearly as often as I would like.
My Soul. When people read Scripture it is a common and good practice to put yourself in the story. An example of this is to read 1 Corinthians 13 and every time it says “love” put in your own name. That practice fits with the Canticle of Mary as well. “Amanda’s soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord…” am I lying when I say/pray that? Does my soul really proclaim His greatness? There are so many words to pick apart in that seemingly tiny phrase.
“My soul” – do I proclaim Him with my soul, with everything that I am, or am I only proclaiming Him with my words, my heart, my actions, or perhaps worse, none of the above? The soul encapsulates everything about me, therefore it should be with every fiber of my being that I proclaim His greatness.
“Proclaim” – not just merely talk about, not just read His words, but truly proclaim Him. To proclaim means to announce something formally, openly, without reservation, and with praise. Am I proclaiming Him or am I merely talking about Him? Am I even talking about Him at all? Do I announce His greatness openly and without reservation, or are there times that I am timid about His love? Am I praising Him or am I mocking Him?
“Greatness” – He is great. Deny it all you want, He remains great. Am I proclaiming His greatness or am I denouncing or doubting His love?
My spirit. Are both my soul and my spirit proclaiming and rejoicing? The call is to proclaim Him with all that I am, all that I have, and all that I will become. Mary lived that out, every day of her life. She proclaimed His goodness, His greatness, not by merely accepting the invitation to be the Mother of God (theotokos in Greek), but by rejoicing that He called her, lowly though she thought herself.
“Rejoices” – to rejoice means to be glad, to be filled with joy, to take delight in something. What better to delight in than the love of God? What better be filled with than His love? What better to be glad about than the fact that He calls each and every one of us, each for our own specific purpose to accomplish a task in the plan for salvation history. Let that sink in and tell me you aren’t rejoicing that He calls YOU to take part in salvation history.
“God my savior” – so simple to say, so easy to forget. He is our savior, our God, our Lord, our best friend, our Creator, our keeper, our Lover, our Love, our Beginning and our End.
Two Simple Lines They are easy enough to remember, easy enough to recite, but difficult sometimes to believe, and even more difficult to live out. Make this your challenge. Pray these lines and ask yourself daily, hourly even, if you are living them out. If you are, good for you! If you aren’t, ask for Mary’s intercession that she would help you to live like her and fall more deeply in love with the Lord, and that you would proclaim His greatness and rejoice in Him.
*pictures of Mary are from the St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, taken by yours truly.