Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
This hymn of praise is memorialized for all of us in that beautiful biblical text which ancient Christian tradition referred to as “The Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55). The word “Magnificat” has come to mean a hymn or song of praise of praise to God. However, the “Fiat” is more than a prayer and the “Magnificat” more than a hymn of praise. Together they constitute a lesson book, a guide, for this journey called life that we all walk.
Our lives, so very real and human, with all of the blessings and all of the pain, can be packed with meaning, purpose and destiny, if we have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to respond with the kind of voluntary surrender that was so beautifully expressed by the Virgin of Nazareth in her surrender to God’s invitation.
This lesson book is desperately needed by Christians, indeed all people of good will, in this age so characterized by pride and arrogance. The pattern of that prayer and song was the pattern of Mary’s entire life. It follows a trajectory of surrendered love. It begins with Gods gift and invitation, invites our response, leads to praise and is intended to bear the fruit of a meaningful life.
She said "Yes" to the invitation to love and she humbled herself. She confronted her own fears and she entered into a new way of living. All of this was in a continued response to the original invitation of love, which was a gift and a special vocation, initiated by a loving God.
Mary’s simple response of “yes” overflowed into her "magnificat", a life hymn of praise. Through this response, she assumed a life’s posture of receiving and giving, she became a fruitful woman, a "God-bearer" or "Mother of God" (which in Greek is Theo-tokos). She brought forth the Word of God!
Her “Yes”, her humble surrender, bore the fruit of her “Magnificat” which bore the fruit of the Incarnate Word. This is a trajectory of love, a prototype of the vocation of every human person to bear the fruit of our surrendered love to the living God. It touches the inner core of the meaning of life for all men and women who are children of the one Creator. We were made to give ourselves away to the Lord and to others.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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