(Part V of a potpourris of perspectives of our Blessed Mother Mary — prepared for discussion at a pre-concert lecture for Polyhumnia, St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, NYC) . . . more reflections to follow:
V. Mary’s Magnificat: Implications – and a story
In her words of consolation and joy, Mary speaks out about all that God has done for her, and by and through extension she speaks clearly about economic, social and political conversion — God’s nonviolent revolution.
In the Magnificat, Mary moves from active nonviolence to prophetic nonviolence. She announces God’s reign of peace and justice, and denounces the world’s reign of war and injustice. In her words, she sums up the message of all the prophets — and she foreshadows Jesus’ teaching. It has been said that the entire Gospel can be found in the Magnificat.
A closing story:
The Magnificat came through loud and clear to Jonathan Myrick Daniels when he was a 26 year old student at the Episcopal Theological School (ETS) in Cambridge. When Jon learned of Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for northern volunteers to go to Selma, Alabama, his first impulse was to go. Then, he asked himself, “Can I spare the time: Do I want to spare the time? Do I want to go?” Reluctantly he concluded that the idea was impractical.But that evening, Jon changed his mind — and he went to Alabama. His last act was to shove a black teenager out of the path of the bullet intended for her. As a civil rights worker he was shot and killed in August 1965.
Before he was killed, Jon explained his calling to go to Alabama: “I had come to Evening Prayer as usual that evening, and as usual I was singing the Magnificat with the special love and reverence I have always felt for Mary’s glad song. ‘He hath showed strength with his arm….’ As the lovely hymn of the God-bearer continued, I found myself peculiarly alert, suddenly straining toward the decisive, luminous, Spirit-filled ‘moment’ that would, in retrospect, remind me of others – particularly one at Easter three years ago. Then it came. ‘He….hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things…’
I knew then that I must go to Selma.”