The Canticle of Mary
Fr. Fred Mislang, in his homily, made mentioned that Stanley Jones said that Mary’s Magnificat ‘is the most revolutionary document in the world.’ For the reason that:
First, Mary sings about a moral revolution in which God blesses the humble and lowly. Jesus said, “Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!” (Matt 5:5). If a man sets his life against that of Christ, he will be humbled surely. Christ enables us to see ourselves for who we are that we are nothing! “Without me you can do nothing,” He says to us. Seeing ourselves in this light gives a death blow to our pride.
Like this story I read, whether factual or not I do not know, of the one-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Muhammad Ali in one of his flights to one of his engagements taken from Ravi Zacharias (Can Man Live Without God, Word Publ., Dallas: 1994, p. 7). Ali’s name has never been synonymous with humility and thus whether this story is fact or fiction. During the flight the aircraft ran into foul weather and mild to moderate turbulence began to toss it about. All nervous passengers well know that when a pilot signals “moderate turbulence,” he is implying, “if you have any religious beliefs, it is time to start expressing them.” The passengers were accordingly instructed to fasten their seatbelts immediately. Everyone complied except Ali. Noticing this, the flight attendant approached him and requested that he may observe the pilot’s order, only to hear Ali audaciously respond, “Superman don’t need seatbelt.” The flight attendant did not miss a beat and replied, “Superman don’t need airplane either.”
Second, Mary sings about social revolution in which God blesses the poor and the needy. Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor for the Kingdom of God is yours,” (Luke 6:20). This is good news especially for us poor people. Why this is so?
Catholic scholars coined the phrase and you already heard this, God’s ‘Preferential option for the poor’ to describe a phenomenon they found throughout both the Old and New Testaments about God’s partiality toward the poor and the disadvantaged. Why God singled out the poor for special attention over any other group? We wonder. What makes the poor deserving of God’s concern? Monika Hellwig writes and lists the following advantages for being poor and theses could be the reasons why this is so:
- The poor know they are in urgent need of redemption.
- The poor know not only their dependence on God and on powerful people but also their interdependence with one another.
- The poor rest their security not on things but on people.
- The poor have no exaggerated sense of their own importance and no exaggerated need of privacy.
- The poor expect little from competition and much from cooperation.
- The poor can distinguish between necessities and luxuries.
- The poor can wait because they have acquired a kind of dogged patience born of acknowledged dependence.
- The fears of the poor are more realistic and less exaggerated because they already know that one can survive great suffering and want.
- When the poor have the Gospel preached to them, it sounds like good news and not like a threat or a scolding.
- The poor can respond to the call of the Gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.
Finally, Mary sings about an Economic revolution in which God blesses the hungry and starving. Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be satisfied.” In a godless society, each man fends for himself or let’s say, kanya-kanya, as we say in Filipino language.
But for Christians, each one is his brother’s keeper. We are to love and serve one another. ‘For I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me…”
At the end let us remember that the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards. They are the ones that care.