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“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant’” (Luke 1:46-48a).

The Magnificat is the Latin name for a song Mary writes after she learns she has been chosen to be the mother of God’s own Son. In it, she glorifies God for His greatness, marveling that He passes over the proud in favor of the humble. She rejoices that she gets to be apart of the fulfillment of His great promise, the promise of salvation that He reiterated generation after generation.

It would have been easy for Mary to become arrogant after receiving Gabriel’s message. She, a humble girl from Nazareth, had been chosen of God to be the mother of the Messiah! No one would be surprised if she expressed even a little pride at this. But Mary doesn’t allow even an inch of pride. Instead, she gives all the glory to God, knowing that is where it truly belongs. She mentions herself only a few times in her song, and each time serves to point back to God. She rejoices because He has done great things for her, things that will allow generations to realize how amazing God is. “‘For behold,’” she proclaims, “‘from now on all generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name’” (Luke 1:48b-49).

Mary writes her song of praise because she is overwhelmed by God’s mercy towards her. She is an ordinary human being; there is nothing inherently special about her. But she loves God and yearns to obey Him, and God is honored by that. Mary’s song expresses her understanding that she is unworthy but that God has chosen to show her—and all generations—mercy. He is at last bringing about the fulfillment of His promise that He spoke to Abraham. He is bringing His Savior. And Mary rejoices because God has chosen her to be apart of it.

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