Reflection – Mary
“My soul magnifies the Lord and my sprit rejoices in God my Saviour.”
Mary, in the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55, RSV.
”We know the scene: the room, variously furnished, almost always a lectern, a book; always the tall lily…. the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering, whom she acknowledges, a guest.” From “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov.
Today, Mary the mother of Jesus is the focus of the Lectionary and the Gospel is her great hymn of praise, the Magnificat. Mary utters this when she visits her relative Elizabeth following the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel who brings the news that she is to give birth to Jesus. Her song is closely linked to that of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, both women rejoicing at the birth of an unexpected child, and much is often made of Mary’s gracious acceptance of this, even though the pregnancy would bring shame upon her in those days as an unmarried mother. Part of Denise Levertov’s poem “Annunciation” follows and, as she writes, like Mary there are times for all of us when we may have the option of choosing light or storm, hard as those decisions may be when an annunciation or news of some kind is welcomed or resisted in our lives.
Looking back, what choices were made at those times? If it was not possible then to be graciously accepting like Mary, does the passage of time mean that we can now praise and magnify God for them?
With my prayers; pob bendith,
“We are told of meek obedience. No-one mentions
She was free
To accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.
Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
when roads of light or storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes…..
Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
the astounding ministry she was offered…….
She did not cry, ‘I cannot. I am not worthy,’
Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
Opened her utterly.”
(C) Denise Levertov.