Mary's Magnificat of praise is divided into three sections.
1. A praise in thanks giving for her own election by God.
2. Thanksgiving for Gods providence in history.
3. Thanks giving for the divine guidance of Israel, His chosen people.
The more a creature is filled with God's grace and the closer it comes to the knowledge of God, the more the glory of God and greatness becomes clear to him.
Lucifer, for example, that highest of creatures was blinded by his own glory. Mary, on the other hand, exalted above the highest of creatures in the order of grace, extols God's greatness and mercy which she has experience. She did not like Lucifer, turn in on herself, she turned out to God.
We on the contrary turn in on ourselves and begin to think of our own greatness, and think ourselves something.
Mary's Magnificat - My soul rejoices in God my saviour
God is indeed Mary's savour - This statement points out that Mary never saw her greatness outside of God - but always in and through God. Who is the source and centre of her life. She indeed does not stand outside the circle of the redeemed people of God, as though her holiness was through some personal accomplishment. On the contrary, she is the very centre of the redeemed, the most redeemed one, the pre-redeemed one. No ever received as much graces as she did.
"He has regarded the humility of his handmaid, for behold from hence forth all generations shall call me blessed".
A statement not of pride, but of greater recognition of what God has done for her. These words are the biblical founder for our praise of her. - She is the humblest. Her humility drew down God's blessings upon her. They will draw down upon her all the praise and thanksgiving from Christians until the end of Time. . . "All generations shall me blessed." And indeed blessed are you O Mary.
Commenting on this statement of Mary, Fr. Otto Hophan, Ofm, capichine (Mary Our most blessed Lady, pg. 126 states: "In these few words of the Magnifcat the most blessed Virgin herself, filled with the Holy Ghost, has laid the foundation of our duty to venerate her, as well as the limits of this veneration. Whoever does not honour Mary, sins against the Holy God. " He goes on to say "He prevents, for his own person, the fulfilment of a prophecy inspired by the Holy Ghost."
Hiddenness of Mary,
After this point in the gospel, Mary says nothing more about herself. In fact the last recorded words in the gospel are; "Do as He tells you".
Mary as the great theologian who has understood the workings of God.
We see the profound wisdom of Mary in the rest of her Magnificat
"He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich (the proud) he has sent away empty."
We can ask ourselves how does a young girl from an obscure town of Galilee have such great insight into God's dealing with men and human history.?
Mary could see that how great and consoling is the awesome power of God. That power that both confounds the proud and destroys the tyrants, also exalts the lowly. . She so well sums up the law of Gods providence for his creatures.
These words of hers are the preparation for the words that Christ himself will speak in his sermon on the mount; where Christ will say "Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are you who hunger and thirst, blessed are you who weep now .. . But woe to you rich! Woe to you who are filled." ect.
In the final aspect of the Magnificat Our Lady points out how God has taken a special care of His own people and been faithful to his promise to them "He has given help to Isreal, his servant, mindful of his mercy and as he spoke to Our fathers to Abraham and his see forever."
She sings the praises of God's faithfulness to His people.
At Shiloh, Hannah, the barren yet faithful Israelite, vows to dedicate her 'firstborn' to the Lord. Her son Samuel becomes the holy prophet, priest and judge who anoints Saul, Israel's first King, and later David himself. Thus Mary and Hannah share a number of fascinating Davidic and Messianic connections.
Hannah's Hymn (1 Sam 2:2 -10) Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:45 - 55)
My Heart Exults in the Lord, my strength is exalted in the Lord, my mouth derides my enemies because I rejoice in my salvation
There is no one Holy Like the Lord
Talk no more so very proudly . . . for the Lord is a God of Knowledge and by Him actions are weighed
The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.'
He will guard the feet of His faithful ones
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for he has regarded the humility of his handmade.'
Holy is His Name
He hath showed strength in his arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceits of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
And His Mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
"O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of Gold ! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides' - St. Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71:216.