Mary’s song of praise, which has gone down in church history as the ‘Magnificat’, is a beautiful expression of her gratitude to God and her joy and amazement that God should have chosen somebody as unimportant as herself. Her heart is so full that it brims over into praise and thanks, when she meets her cousin Elizabeth who has been blessed by God with a pregnancy in her old age – a child who would become John the Baptist.


Mary realises that God isn’t too impressed with the stuff that society so often regards as important – power, prestige, possessions. So she says God has

‘scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly.’

This was considered so subversive at one time by the Argentine government, that they banned it from public recitation at protest marches! But how true it is, as one looks at the Arab Spring.

Rohr says that our desire for possessions and/or power and prestige are ‘the attitudes that numb the heart, allow us to make very egocentric judgements, and dull our general spiritual perception.’

The church has not been good at remembering this, over the centuries, and we are reaping now what we’ve sown. There have been times in our history – and still today, sometimes – when power and prestige have had far too much influence in church decisions. I remember talking to a cathedral canon once, and asking why the spiritual understanding of a certain issue was being ignored. ‘That’s not how it works,’ he said.

I felt downhearted. For goodness’ sake. If our church leaders aren’t able to keep their eye on the spiritual ball, the future looks pretty bleak. Spiritual perception becomes numb if we live our lives ignoring and neglecting God’s values.

It is fundamental to remember that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. His values haven’t changed … and maybe we would do well to get back to them.

Right on, Mary.


  1. Blimey… is the Magnificat still banned in Argentina? That also is a back-handed compliment to how powerful her song is…… Shows they must fear that power on some level…and usually things that are banned are taken up with renewed vigour!! 🙂 Mary is at work still :yes:


    1. I guess it’s because they don’t care about being in headlines, Bar 😉 but the media are only interested when there is dissent – and that’s not just true of the church. How often do we hear positive stories in the media about anything? It’s not newsworthy unless it’s gloom and doom!


  2. Afraid prestige is in the church as much as any where else. Few people take the bible and christs words litterally if they did the church would be more lowly and on the level of the people they try to draw in they would teach from example and word of christ not from up on high as though better than every one else because they are not.xx


    1. You’re right, Aven. There are lots of people in the church who do try and live their faith and go out to people as they are. But they aren’t the ones who make the headlines!


      1. Yes there used to be some very modest genuine people in church and then the hierachy and the ones who came to church at christmas with a gift for the church one that would leave a lasting impression usually with there name on it for all to see. You wouldnt see them again until next year, they felt the need to impress every one as christians due only to the fact that they were not atall and didnt even know what it really meant. Sorry for being so cynical but that is what i found.xx


      2. There are lots of humble people around who just want to do stuff for God and other people. Unfortunately they are not the ones who hit the headlines!


      3. That is what happens … we have to learn to give and receive nothing, just because of love. Not easy because it is human nature to want some kind of return. Can be very disheartening – but the question is, do we love God for Who He is, or do we love Him just for what He can give? It’s one we have had to ask ourselves many times and I’m afraid the answer is not always the right one :no:


      4. Some times i think that god as been cruel to me after losing all of my family i have a son who as taken of and ive not heard from or seen for years and the only reason is because i marriad again.

        Also i have an older daughter who hates me because of her fathers behaviour she turned her hate on me i never see or hear from her.

        Then god opens my mind and i realize he is protecting me because i know my son may have well turned into the image of his father out of choice, a violent man, and my elder daughter thinks of nobody but herself so i dont need her eaither,god is protecting me by keeping them away and i am glad i need no more pain. So we dont always know what is good for us but god does.xx


      5. I think that is lovely, Aven, and a very wise piece of insight. We don’t always know what’s good for us, indeed! – but He does.

        Christmas hugs!


  3. We could do having these sentiments used at major protests in this and other western countries….aimed at bringing ‘dowwn to earth’ the mighty finacial world…etc….:roll: Pity it has to be ‘banned’…How will our ‘western media’ react to ‘Occupy’ utilizing these words? 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s