Mary the mother of Jesus visited her relative, Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. Mary uttered a beautiful Psalm known as the Magnificat. Its themes are praise, humility, joy, fear, faith, mercy, strength, promise, and blessing. All these things supported Mary’s relationship with God.
Note:— Magnificat is a Latin word meaning "it praises". Where the psalm begins "My soul magnifies the Lord", some translations say "My soul praises the Lord" or "...glorifies the Lord".
¶46'My soul magnifies the Lord,
47And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48For he has looked on the humble state of his bondmaid.
Behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49For he who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is his name.
¶ 50His mercy is for those who fear him
From generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52He has brought down the mighty from their thrones;
And exalted those of a humble state.
¶ 53He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich he has sent away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
In remembrance of his mercy,
55As he promised our fathers,
Abraham and his offspring, forever.'
Mary magnifies the Lord, and she humbles herself in response to the angel’s promise. She acknowledges "the lowly state of God’s bondmaid". She also acknowledges that God has chosen to give her wonderful blessings in her humble state.
Mary is ready to be God’s servant in all that he has promised her regarding the conception and birth of the Son of God. Indeed, Mary says of it, "My spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour".
Mary says of God, "He has scattered the proud... brought down the mighty... exalted the humble." May we listen to her and our thoughts also be humble.
Just before Mary uttered the magnificat, Elizabeth said of Mary, "Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfilment of those things that were told her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45)
Mary speaks of the promises of God which he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their offspring. Mary believed these promises, especially the promise of Christ the Saviour.
Mary’s faith was not blind. It was a faith based on evidence. Mary said, "He who is mighty has done great things for me... He has filled the hungry with good things... He has helped his servant Israel".
Mary looked at the providence of God in her own life, and in the history of the Israelites. She says, "His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation" and Mary herself saw this. She did not see co-incidence. She saw proof: "He has shown strength with his arm".
The mighty deeds are obvious that God has done through the centuries. Mary’s awareness of this helped her to believe that the angel who came to her was real and spoke the truth (Luke 1:26-38).
When Elizabeth became pregnant in her old age, and Mary herself became pregnant while still a virgin, that was undeniable evidence for her to believe beyond all doubt.
And don't forget Joseph, Mary’s husband. Mary would be a believer no matter what Joseph thought. However, Joseph shared Mary’s belief, also encouraged by an angel. God provided a good man to support Mary in her faith.
Mary speaks of God’s strong arm, a metaphor for his mighty power. We recognise God’s power, and therefore we fear God. But notice there is another side: God is merciful as well as mighty. "He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of a humble state".
The mighty are brought low by God; their strength is taken from them. The humble are exalted by God; they are empowered and strengthened. This was Mary’s experience. God made her strong for her service to him.
Mary is exalted by God because she is humble and obedient to God. She says, "He who is mighty has done great things for me".
Mary is quite aware that many will not believe that she is a virgin. That's just one problem in which she needs to be strong through the mighty arm of God.