By Dr. Jenny O'Brien
My soul magnifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour,
for he has looked upon his handmaid in her lowliness;
and from this day forward
For the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
for those who fear him.
He has made known the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those who are lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
mindful of his mercy,
even as he promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.
“A pregnant woman is not the usual image that comes to mind when one thinks of a prophet,” writes the American theologian Elizabeth Johnson*, yet in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel we come face to face with two Spirit-filled pregnant prophets doing exactly what prophets do: speaking aloud God’s truth. We refer, of course, to Mary and Elizabeth. Both were grappling with how to deal with their newfound circumstances: Elizabeth as a first -time mother in her old age and Mary as the unmarried, pregnant bride suspected of infidelity to her betrothed. However, both shared the distinction of being ‘mothers of redemption’ since Jesus was to be the Messiah and John the Baptist his herald.