Mary’s Magnificat…My Magnificat… by Fr. Jay Kythe

Lecturer’s Report for January, 2020, Greg Brown

When the Virgin visited her cousin Elizabeth, John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb and Mary proclaimed one of the greatest prayers in Christendom, The Magnificat. It is prayed every day by monks worldwide. Fr. Jay Kythe, of St. Benedict’s Abbey provides the following reflection on the Magnificat, applying it to us, the Lord’s lowly servants. The following is borrowed from their magazine, Kansas Monks, Fall 2019, Vol 13, Number 1.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, - The Lord proclaims the tremendous goodness of my soul, of my being, of my personhood… of me! “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was good” (Gen 1:31).

My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, - My Savior rejoices in me! “He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will renew you in his love; He will exalt over you with loud singing as on a day of festival” (Zeph 3:17).

For He has looked with favor on His lowly servant, - Do you believe this? Who am I that he should look with favor upon me? But He has indeed! If only I would accept it, and my life would change. I am His beloved, made in His image and likeness. Anything short of this is a lie from the evil one. May I stay lowly enough so the poison of pride doesn’t get in the way!

From this day all generations will call me blessed, - “I will all the more gladly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (1 Cor 12:9). I shall lead with my weakness, for my strength is not mine to own.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. – He has done an incredible thing! He has come to me, pitched his tent in the foul dirt of my soul, and raised me up from that place. He has saved me, lifted me up in my brokenness, and so all I can do is to whisper His holy name to remind me of what he has done for me: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. – “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner!” When I dare lift up my eyes to meet his eyes, He chooses to lift me up! And still He shows me greater things, what He has done, not just for me but for all the poor in spirit. Let me recount what he has done:

He has shown the strength of his arm, He has scattered the proud in their conceit. – Look at the might of God in His glory, and look at the faces of the proud in their confusion. Look at the humble who follow him in His silence, and look at the arrogant who grope in the noise. Look at the peace in the simple, and look at the hubris of the presumptuous.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. – Look at the powerful nations that are no more, and look at the ones striving for peace. Look at the crumbling thrones of power, and look at those who change others by their witness. Look at the corruption of power, and look at the silent authority of humble leadership.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. – Look at the misery of the rich and the wealthy, and look at the laughter of the poor ones. Look at the preoccupations of the ones with may possessions, and look at the humility of those with less. Look at the childish play acting as adults, and look at the adults finding childlike joy in the simple things of life.

He has come to the help of His servant Israel. – He has done all this, for me and for the ones who follow Him. And my heart is filled with songs of gratitude. He is truly a Father who fulfills His promises! And He fills me with abundant life!

For He remembered His promise of mercy, the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever. – When the storms of life rage and the ground around you shifts, when earthquakes rock your soul and the shadows of despair deepen, when even the voice of the Almighty sounds silent to you … remember. Remember His promises to you, of mercy and love, of provident care and concern, of the road He has laid out for you that leads to eternal life. Do not stray from it; let His promises guide you, even through the worst of storms. Then you will sing your Magnificat on this way, and teach others to do so as will!