Lectio Divina: Luke 1:46-56
3th Week of Advent
1) Opening prayer
God of the little ones,
with Mary we rejoice and give you thanks
that you let Jesus Christ become one of us
and let Him bring us the dignity
of Your sons and daughters.
May we live up to that dignity
and to the joy that says
that we are deeply loved by You.
Like You, may we also learn to care
for all that is little and brittle
and bring Your justice to the poor
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading – Luke 1: 46-56
And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
because He has looked with favor on his lowly servant. Yes, from now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is His name,
and His faithful love extends age after age to those who fear Him.
He has used the power of His arm, He has routed the arrogant of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised up the lowly.
He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of His faithful love
- according to the promise of mercy He made to our ancestors - to Abraham and to His descendants forever.
Mary stayed with her about three months and then returned home.
• The Canticle of Mary was one of the canticles of the community of the first Christians. It reveals the level of awareness or consciousness, and the firmness, of the faith which animated her interiorly. Sung in the community, this Canticle of Mary teaches us to pray and to sing.
• Luke 1: 46-50: Mary begins by proclaiming the change which is taking place in her life under the loving gaze of God, full of mercy. Because of this, she sings joyfully: “I rejoice in God, my Savior”.
• Luke 1: 51-53: Afterwards she sings of the fidelity of God toward His people and proclaims the change which the arm of the Lord was realizing on behalf of the poor and the hungry. The expression “arm of God” reminds us of the liberation of the Exodus. This is the force of salvation and of liberation of Yahweh which bring about the changes: He has routed the arrogant of heart (Lk 1: 51); He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised up the lowly (Lk 1: 52); He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty (Lk 1: 53).
• Luke 1: 54-55: At the end Mary recalls that all this is the expression of God’s mercy toward His people and the expression of His fidelity to the promises made to Abraham. The Good News is not seen as a reward because of the observance of the Law, but rather as an expression of the goodness and fidelity of God to His promises. This is what Paul taught the Galatians and the Romans.
“The song of Mary is the oldest Advent hymn. It is at once the most passionate, the wildest, one might even say the most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung. This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary whom we sometimes see in paintings.…This song has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of some of our Christmas carols. It is instead a hard, strong, inexorable song about the power of God and the powerlessness of humankind.”
- The German theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer, before being executed by the Nazis, in a sermon during Advent 1933.
4) Personal questions
• The canticles are the thermometer of the life of the community. They reveal the degree of consciousness and commitment. Examine the canticles of your community.
• Analyze the social conscience which comes from Mary’s Canticle. In the 20th century after Christ, it is said that this Canticle was censored by the military of Latin America because it was considered subversive.
5) Concluding Prayer
The Lord raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the dunghill
to give them a place with princes,
to assign them a seat of honor. (1Sam 2:8)