“My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.” (Luke 1:46-50)
The Magnificat. This beautiful, joyful Psalm is said to have been sung by the Blessed Virgin Mary upon her arrival at the house of her relative Elizabeth who lived in the town of Judea. Both Mary and Elizabeth were undoubtedly elated because each had been blessed by God Almighty to conceive a child at exquisitely planned times in their lives.
Elizabeth, ever faithful to God, had long dealt with public scrutiny because she was barren. The Bible states that she was well past child-bearing age when she conceived John. Think about the difficulty she must have faced bearing a child late in life. We are so fortunate in our times to have the blessings of physicians, medicines and ever-advancing technologies. Elizabeth, simply and humbly relied upon her abiding faith in God, her husband Zechariah and, quite likely, a friend or relative who would help her through the inevitable pains of labor and ultimately the horrific death of her loving son.
Mary, a young girl of only 14 or 15 years, had been betrothed to Joseph since around 12 years of age. Talk about public scrutiny! In our present society, we have become desensitized to teen pregnancy and pregnancy outside of marriage. In Mary's time, this young, ever-faithful child of God, must have faced many negative comments, public embarrassment and, much worse, the possibility of public stoning. As we all know, she, too, would endure great pain and suffering as her son, Jesus our Savior, would be crucified at the hands of Pilot, the chief priests of that time and those who once worshiped him and called him the Messiah.
Despite all the obstacles and suffering they witnessed as mothers of John the Baptist and our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, despite all they endured in the suffering of their sons, Elizabeth and Mary never, NEVER lost faith. They were not prideful. They were not complacent. Both accepted their lot in life with all outcomes created, with true, unwavering, trust in the Creator, with thankfulness of every blessing big or small, with humility, prayer and reflection.
Without question the sons of both women have shaped our personal spiritual beliefs and those of many religions and societies, but let us not forget the passionate and loving footprint these mothers have left as well.
ZECHARIAH 2:14-17 • REVELATION 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB • JUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19 • LUKE 1:26-38 OR LUKE 1:39-47