A revolutionary song

Today is the feast of the Visitation. In haste, Mary – pregnant with Jesus – goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth – pregnant with John the Baptist.


It is a feast of hospitality, solidarity, joy.

The passage in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1: 39-56) ends with the Magnificat, Mary’s canticle in praise of a revolutionary God.

During my retreat last week to prepare for my diaconal ordination, I picked up Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s book of essays Abounding in Kindness: Writing for the People of God, and came across her beautiful and pointed essay on the Magnificat, “Hearts on Fire: A Revolutionary Song.”

I recommend the essay but want to share a few quotations that touched me:

Young, poor, female, member of a subjugated people, [Mary] belongs to a group given a negative valuation by worldly powers. Yet it is to precisely such a woman that the living God has done great things. (p. 301)


Through God’s action the social hierarchy of wealth and poverty, power and subjugation, will be turned upside down. (p. 302)

Mary speaks of a God who has transformed this world and keeps transforming it.

May our souls glorify this Lord who turn things upside down, who in Mary’s song gives us “a profound sense of the odd mercy of the God of Israel who graciously chooses to be in solidarity with those who suffer and are of no account.” (p.301)

The photo is of a painting for the church in El Sitio, Suchitoto, El Salvador.

One response to “A revolutionary song

  1. Pingback: My cloud of witnesses | walk the way

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