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.
Author: Kathy Horan
On Sunday, May 19 this year, many communities within the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide will gather to take part in the annual Marian Procession and Peace Rally. This year’s procession is the 70th in the series and will be a public honouring of Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
For centuries, Mary has captured the hearts and imaginations of Christians all over the world as they reflected on her role and importance in the life of Jesus and of his followers. Litanies of Mary attempt to honour various aspects of Mary’s life: she is named Mother of Mercy and Compassion, Our Lady of Grace, Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, to name a few. Qualities such as patience, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding and love are honoured in her. All of these titles and qualities, and more, enable us to reflect on the importance of Mary, the woman who gave birth to Jesus and whose faith and trust in God enabled her, at the Annunciation, to say yes to what God was asking of her.