Bishop Karowei writes...
A Reflection on the Magnificat
(First used for Black History Month)
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all people, from generation to generation, shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty has done great things; and holy is his name”. (Luke 1 vs. 46b-49)
Mary’s song, also known as the ‘Magnificat’, echoes the prayers of many women and prophets in the Holy Scriptures. The essence of the core message reminds me of the Hollywood movie Hidden Figures, the story of the African American women directly involved with the Space Race and the first expedition to the Moon.
In the movie, based on a true account, the women were the powerhouses, speaking about the pure mathematics of the space project. Yet, when the story was first told there was no mention of them or any suggestions that some black people had been involved in the project.
Today, I draw parallels with our Church life and the way in which, owing to our lack of openness to the work of the Holy Spirit in our mission, being and witness, we could become narrow-minded and self-centred. In doing so, we may become our own cheerleaders, ignoring what God is doing in other people around us. We could blank the ‘others’, out of our gaze, out of our collective story and out of our shared witness, as if they were not there, like Hidden Figures.
Mary celebrates the recognition she is afforded by the Almighty God and makes a song and dance of it. She rejoices in “God who has regarded her lowly estate”. God has a good way of recognising us and pointing us out in the crowd even when we try to hide. He has a way of bringing us out of hiddenness to the limelight through the love of his son, Jesus Christ.
Mary also celebrates the fact that she is no longer a “Hidden Figure”. The Almighty has put her into the limelight and “All generations henceforth, will call her blessed”. This is Mary, the lowly handmaiden of the Lord, Anna’s child who was engaged to be married to Joseph, the Carpenter.
“The Almighty is Holy, and has shown his strength, by scattering the proud in the imagination of their hearts, humbling the mighty and exalting the humble”, a Divine economy in complete contrast to the world’s ways.
As we celebrate our common life as believers in Christ, Mary speaks to us and for us all. And, remember, our God works in mysterious ways, so the hidden figures are henceforth put into the limelight, the humble will be lifted up, the hungry will be filled with good things and mercy showered on them that fear or reverence God, the Father, the Son and the Spirit, from generation to generation. This will encourage ‘mutual flourishing’ in keeping with our Diocesan vision.