“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
The Magnificat (meaning ‘my soul magnifies’ in Latin) is not about Mary but about God – his power, mercy and justice. She begins with personal reflection concerning what God has done for her, and then she broadens her praise, including what God does for the poor and oppressed. In particular we notice the phrase ‘he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty’. Teresa of Avila (1515-82) famously said, ‘Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now’
It is God who heals, blesses, gives and forgives. Rather than trying to act to save ourselves from guilt or distancing ourselves from it, we should rather confess it. Individuals and societies that have lost sight of God’s goodness manifest in the created order need to repent and confess their complicity in a system that is fundamentally unjust.
It is good to remember that ‘If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). Sin is followed by confession, which yields mercy, which inspires action. If we know this in our hearts and want to live the life that we profess, then we will act upon the confession we have made and in that way begin to allow God to bring about change in and through us.
Merciful God, we are inextricably bound by the sins of our modern world. Turn our hearts to confession, that we may be blessed to work for healing, justice and life for those who are oppressed injustice. Amen