Contemplate the face of Mary
Our Lady spoke seven times in the Gospel—can you name the seven times; try it!  A hint: one time was when she greeted her cousin Elizabeth in the Visitation! Mary’s longest expression is her Magnificat—her beautiful canticle of praise, found only in the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 1:46-56).

This sublime Canticle of praise issued forth from the most pure, loving and holy Immaculate Heart of Mary, is one of the greatest prayers and songs of praise ever composed in the history of Spirituality! Therefore, what might be some of the simple but sublime lessons that Our Lady can teach us by her Magnificat? Let us delve in to this spiritual gold-mine and gather these spiritual treasures!

Our Lady at prayer
1.    TEACHER OF PRAYER.  Our Lady teaches us how to pray, the importance of prayer, a sublime mode of prayer and words that can be expressed in prayer! Every time Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal she said PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! The prayer that Our Lady of Fatima insisted upon was the Holy Rosary. In the Magnificat Our Lady teaches us a key truth taught by Saint Ignatius of Loyola In the Spiritual Exercises—Man is created to praise God.  Our Lady’s words are very much in harmony with this concept of praise—listen!  My soul does magnify the Lord--- magnify is another way of saying to praise God. Actually the highest expression of prayer is that of praise. The two highest choirs of angels in heaven—the Cherubim and Seraphim—are in heaven praising God for all eternity—of course with Our Lady who is Queen of the angels and saints! The end goal and purpose of Holy Mass is to praise God the Father, by the offering of God the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. (The Doxology in the Mass).

The joy in heaven at the crowning of Mary as Queen
2.    JOY.  Saint Thomas of Aquinas, the angelic Doctor, asserts that all of humanity and all of us individuals are called to joy, to  desire joy, and want to live in joy. This assertion may appear obvious; however, many people walk around with what Pope Francis calls “the funeral face” or in Spanish, “cara de vinagre”—translation, “vinegar face”.  Our Lady in her Magnificat teaches us the ultimate source and means by which true joy can be attained. These are the words of Our Lady: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. The interpretation is clear and to the point: we will experience true joy only if we are united to God, strive to do God’s will and  try to love God with all our hearts. If this is our motif and attitude in life then we will be experiencing constant joy. We strongly encourage all to read and meditate the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, “The Joy of the Gospel.” If you see a sad-faced person, why not read the Magnificat to him and point out to him that he can experience joy if he follows Mary’s advice—to rejoice, to find joy in God!!! Saint Paul encourages us to rejoice like Mary:  “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)

Our Lady is the handmaid of the Lord
3.    HUMILITY.  Mary teaches us by word and deed a virtue most pleasing to the Heart of God—the virtue of humility. Meditate upon Mary’s words: “He has looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid…” Mary was great because she recognized her littleness, her lowliness, her humility. Mary was keenly aware of the spiritual truth that she was totally dependent upon God for all that she received from Him; absolutely everything she had was simply a total gift from God the giver of all good gifts.  In imitation of Mary let us beg for the virtue of humility and recognize that all the evil in us is our own doing, but all the good we have and all the good we can do is the sheer grace of God’s bountiful goodness! God does not drizzle, or rain, but He pours down abundant graces upon us at all times! We are all greatest when we are lowest and that means on our knees in prayer! The humble posture of kneeling down in prayer is true greatness because as such we are saying that we are poor, needy and as Saint Augustine points out, we are all beggars before God!

Our Lady and Pentecost
4.    BLESSED.   All generations will call Our Lady blessed. Listen and pray over these words: “All generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me…” This prophecy, so true and always actual, is carried out millions and millions of times every day throughout the whole planet when anybody of good will says that prayer that makes Our Lady rejoice, the Hail Mary.  Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, BLESSED are you among women…” May we never weary of praying over and over again the Angelic Salutation that we know as the Hail Mary. Every time we say it with love and devotion the Immaculate Heart of Mary leaps for joy. Let us constantly lift up the Heart of Mary our loving Mother by praying the Hail Mary! Let us strive, as Apostles of Mary, to teach and encourage others to pray the Hail Mary. Our Lady will never forget you in time and for all eternity!

The Holy Family
5.    GOD’S HOLY NAME.   Our Lady also teaches us how to live out the Commandments, and in this case the 2nd Commandment—to honor God’s holy name. These are the words of Our Lady:  “And Holy is His name...” Indeed Jesus’ name is so holy that every knee in heaven, on earth and even under the earth will bow upon hearing it. (Phil. 2) May Our Lady teach us to always respect the Holy Name of God in all times, places and circumstances, as well as to repair for offenses against His Holy Name! Praying the Divine Praises is a good prayer to repair for the offenses against His Holy name, as well as the Magnificat.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

6.    MERCY. Our Lady praises in her Magnificat the greatest attribute of God, according to Saint Faustina Kowalska and Saint Pope John Paul II, and that is His MERCY.  “He has mercy on those who fear Him…” Even though we are conceived in Original sin, we have a strong proclivity towards sin and indeed do fall into sin, God’s mercy is infinite. As Saint Paul reminds us: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more.” One of the most renowned and beautiful prayers to Mary is the Hail Holy Queen, which starts off with these words: “Hail holy Queen Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope…” Our Lady teaches us in the Magnificat and we pray in the Hail Holy Queen that we should never, even when it seems to be a dark and endless tunnel, lose hope, but we should trust in His mercy. Father Benedict Groeschel correctly asserted:  “If Judas Iscariot were to have repented trusting in God’s mercy, then throughout the entire world there would be Churches with the title Saint Judas Iscariot, the penitent!!!  In conclusion, let us form the habit of praying frequently and fervently Mary’s song of praise, the Magnificat.  Through Mary’s intercession may we learn to praise God by our words, in our hearts and through holy lives. Amen.

Our Lady visits Saint Elizabeth--  and the Magnificat!