Read and listen to the prayer of the "Magnificat"


My soul magnifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in Godmy savior

because he looked at the humility of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me
and Santo is his name:

his mercy from generation to generation
he lays down on those who fear him.

He explained the power of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

he overthrew the mighty from their thrones,
he lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with good things,
sent the rich away empty handed.

He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,

as he promised our fathers,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Glory to Father and to Son
and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, and now and always
forever and ever.



Anima mea Dominum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus

in Deo salvatore meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem ancíllæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beátam me dicent
all generations,

quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,

et misericórdia eius in progénies et progénies
timentibus eum.

Fecit poténtiam in his branch,
dispérsit superbos mente cordis sui;

depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit humiles;

esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.

Suscépit Israel puerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,

sicut locútus est ad patres nostras,
Abraham et sémini eius in sæcula.

Glória Patri, et Fílio
et Spiritui Sancto.

Sicut erat in principle, et nunc et semper,
et in sǽcula sæculórum.


Mary visits Elizabeth

Commentary on the Magnificat

In questa meditazione saliamo con Maria “verso la montagna” ed entriamo nella casa di Elisabetta.

The Mother of God he will speak to us in the first person with his canticle of praise which is the Magnificat.

Today all the Church gathers around the successor of Peter who celebrates his 50th anniversary of priesthood and the canticle of the Virgin is the prayer that most spontaneously arises from the heart in circumstances like this. A meditation on it is our small way of participating in this anniversary even now.
Per comprendere il posto e lo scopo che il cantico della Vergine ha nel vangelo di Luca, è necessario premettere qualche cenno sui cantici evangelici in genere.

The hymns scattered in the infancy gospels - Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis - have the function of poetically explaining the spiritual meaning of the events narrated - Annunciation, Visitation, Christmas -, giving them the form of a confession of faith and praise.

As such, they are an integral part of the historical narrative.

They are not interludes or detached passages, because every historical event is made up of two elements: the fact and the meaning of the fact.

I cantici inseriscono già la liturgia nella storia. “La liturgia cristiana – è stato scritto – ha i suoi inizi negli inni della storia dell’infanzia”.

We have, in other words, in these canticles, an embryo of the Christmas liturgy.

They realize the essential element of the liturgy which is to be a festive and believing celebration of the event of salvation.
Molti problemi rimangono insoluti circa questi cantici, secondo gli studiosi: gli autori reali, le fonti, la struttura interna…

Noi possiamo prescindere, fortunatamente, da tutti questi problemi critici e lasciare che essi continuino a essere studiati con frutto da quelli che si occupano di questo genere di problemi.

Non dobbiamo attendere che siano risolti tutti questi punti oscuri, per poterci già edificare con questi cantici.

Not because these problems are not important, but because there is a certainty that relativizes all those uncertainties: Luke accepted these canticles in his gospel and the Church accepted the Gospel of Luke into its canon.
These canticles are “the word of God”, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Magnificat is Mary's because the Holy Spirit "attributed" it to her and this makes it more "hers" than if she had actually written it in her own hand!

Infatti a noi non interessa tanto sapere se il Magnificat l’ha composto Maria, quanto sapere se l’ha composto per ispirazione dello Spirito Santo.

Even if we were very certain that it was composed directly by Mary, it would not interest us for this, but because the Holy Spirit speaks in it.

Mary's canticle contains a new look at God and about the world; in the first part, which embraces verses 46-50, Mary's gaze moves upwards God; in the second part, which embraces the remaining verses, his gaze moves towards the world and history.

A new look at God

The first movement of the Magnificat is verso God; God ha il primato assoluto su tutto.

Mary does not delay in responding to Elizabeth's greeting; she does not enter into dialogue with men, but with God. She collects her soul and plunges it into the infinite that it is God.

An experience of was "fixed" forever in the Magnificat God senza precedenti e senza paragoni nella storia. È l’esempio più sublime del linguaggio cosiddetto numinoso.

It has been observed that the appearance of the divine reality on the horizon of a creature usually produces two opposing feelings: one of fear and one of love. God it presents itself as "the tremendous and fascinating mystery", tremendous in its majesty, fascinating in its goodness.

When the light of God, for the first time, shone in Augustine's soul, he confesses that “he trembled with love and of terror” and who even later contact with God it made him "shiver and burn" at the same time.
We find something similar in Mary's canticle, expressed in a biblical way, through the titles.

God is seen as "Adonai" (which says much more than our "Lord" with which it is translated), as "God”, come “Potente” e soprattutto come Qadosh, “Santo”: Santo è il suo nome!

At the same time, however, this God holy and powerful, he is seen, with infinite trust, as "my Savior", as a benevolent, lovable reality, as "his own" God, as a God per la creatura.

Ma è soprattutto l’insistenza di Maria sulla misericordia che mette in luce questo aspetto benevolo e “affascinante” della realtà divina.

"His mercy extends from generation to generation": these words suggest the idea of ​​a majestic river that flows from the heart of God and runs through all of human history.

Now this river has come to a "lock" and restarts at a higher level.

"He remembered his mercy": the promise to Abraham and to the Fathers was fulfilled.
The knowledge of God it causes, by reaction and contrast, a new perception or knowledge of oneself and one's being, which is the real one.

The I can only be grasped in front of God, “coram Deo. In presence of God, la creatura, dunque, conosce finalmente se stessa nella verità.

E così vediamo che avviene anche nel Magnificat.

Mary feels "watched" by God, she enters that look herself, she sees herself as she sees it God.

And how does she see herself in this divine light? As "little" ("humility" here means real smallness and baseness, not the virtue of humility!) and as a "servant".

It feels like a little nothing that God si è degnato di guardare. Maria non attribuisce l’elezione divina alla sua virtù dell’umiltà, ma al favore divino, alla grazia.

To think differently (as certain famous authors did) is to destroy Mary's humility at once. Humility has a very special status: it is for those who do not believe they have it; those who think they have it don't have it.
From this recognition of God, di sé e della verità, si sprigiona la gioia e l’esultanza: “Il mio spirito esulta…”.

Gioia prorompente della verità, gioia per l’agire divino, gioia della lode pura e gratuita.

Magnificent Mary God for himself, even if he magnifies him for what he has done in her, that is, starting from his own experience, as all the great prayers of the Bible do. Mary's jubilation is jubilation eschatological for the definitive action of God and it is the creaturely jubilation of feeling oneself a creature loved by the Creator, at the service of the Saint, of thelove, of beauty, of eternity.

È la pienezza della gioia.

St. Bonaventure, who had direct experience of the transforming effects of the visit of God to the soul, it speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Mary, at the moment of the Annunciation, as of a fire that inflames her whole.
Sopravvenne in lei – scrive – lo Spirito Santo come fuoco divino che infiammò la sua mente e santificò la sua carne conferendole una perfettissima purità […].

Oh, se tu fossi capace di sentire, in qualche misura, quale e quanto grande fu l’incendio disceso dal cielo, quale refrigerio recato […].

If you could hear the jubilant song of the Virgin!
Even the most demanding and rigorous scientific exegesis realizes that here we are faced with words that cannot be understood with the normal means of philological analysis and confesses: “Whoever reads these lines is called to share in the jubilation; only the concelebrating community of believers in Christ and of his faithful is up to these texts” .

It is a speaking "in the Spirit" that cannot be understood except in the Spirit.

A new look at the world

The Magnificat consists of two parts.

What changes, in the passage from the first to the second part, is neither the means of expression nor the tone; from this point of view, the canticle is a continuous flow that does not present caesuras; continues the series of verbs in the past that narrate what God he did, or rather he “began to do”.

What changes is only the scope of action of God: dalle cose che ha fatto “in lei”, si passa a osservare le cose che ha fatto nel mondo e nella storia.

We consider the effects of the definitive manifestation of God, i suoi riflessi sull’umanità e sulla storia.

Here we observe a second characteristic of evangelical wisdom which consists in uniting the intoxication of contact with God the sobriety in looking at the world, in reconciling the greatest transport and abandonment towards each other God to the greatest critical realism towards history and men.

Con una serie di potenti verbi all’aoristo, Maria descrive, a partire dal versetto 51, un rovesciamento e un radicale mutamento delle parti tra gli uomini: “Ha rovesciato – ha innalzato; ha ricolmato – ha rimandato a mani vuote”.

A sudden and irreversible turning point, because it is the work of God che non cambia e non torna indietro, come invece fanno gli uomini nelle loro cose.

In this change two categories of people emerge: on the one hand the category of the proud-powerful-rich, on the other the category of the humble-hungry.
È importante che noi comprendiamo in che consiste un tale rovesciamento e dove si produce, perché diversamente c’è il rischio di fraintendere tutto il cantico e con esso le beatitudini evangeliche che sono qui anticipate quasi con le stesse parole.

Guardiamo alla storia: che cosa è accaduto, di fatto, quando ha preso a realizzarsi l’avvenimento cantato da Maria? C’è forse stata una rivoluzione sociale ed esterna, per cui i ricchi sono, di colpo, impoveriti e gli affamati sono stati saziati di cibo? C’è stata forse una più giusta distribuzione dei beni tra le classi? No.

Forse che i potenti sono stati rovesciati materialmente dai troni e gli umili innalzati? No;

Herod continued to be called "the Great" and Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt because of him.
Se dunque quello che ci si aspettava era un cambiamento sociale e visibile, c’è stata una smentita totale da parte della storia.

So where did that reversal happen? (Because it happened!).

It happened in faith! The kingdom of has manifested God e questa cosa ha provocato una silenziosa, ma radicale rivoluzione.

Come se si fosse scoperto un bene che, di colpo, ha svalutato la moneta corrente.

The rich man looks like a man who has saved up a large sum of money, but in the night there was a one hundred percent devaluation and in the morning he got up as a miserable pauper.

I poveri e gli affamati, al contrario, sono avvantaggiati, perché sono più pronti ad accogliere la nuova realtà, non temono il cambiamento; hanno il cuore pronto.

The reversal sung by Maria is of the same type – I was saying – as that proclaimed by Jesus with the beatitudes and with the parable of the rich man.
Maria talks about wealth and poverty starting with God; again, he speaks “coram Deo”, he takes as a measure God, not the man. Establishes the “definitive” criterion, eschatological.

Dire dunque che si tratta di un rovesciamento avvenuto “nella fede”, non significa dire che esso è meno reale e radicale, meno serio, ma che lo è infinitamente di più.

This is not a drawing created by the wave on the sand of the sea which the following wave erases.

We are dealing with an eternal wealth and an equally eternal poverty.

The Magnificat on the mouth of the Church

Saint Irenaeus, commenting on the Annunciation, says that "Mary, full of exultation, cried out prophetically in the name of the Church: “L’anima mia magnifica il Signore” .

Maria è come la voce solista che intona per prima un’aria che deve essere poi ripetuta dal coro. È questa una pacifica convinzione della Tradizione. Anche Origene la fa sua: “È per costoro (cioè per quelli che credono) che Maria magnifica il Signore”15.

He too speaks of a "prophecy of Mary", regarding the Magnificat16.

This means the expression “Maria figura della Church” (typus Ecclesiae), used by the Fathers and accepted by the Second Vatican Council (cf. LG 63).

To say that Mary is “a figure of Church” means to say that it is its personification, the representation in sensitive form of a spiritual reality; it means to say that it is a model of the Church.

She is the figure of Church also in the sense that in his person the idea of Church; that she constitutes of it, under the head that is Christ, the main member, and the first fruits.
But what does it mean here?Church” and instead of which Church Irenaeus says Mary intones the Magnificat? Not instead of Church nominal, but of the Church real, i.e. not of the Church in the abstract, but of the Church concrete, of the people and souls that make up the Church.

The Magnificat is not only to be recited, but to be lived, to be made our own by each of us; it is “our” canticle. When we say: "My soul magnifies the Lord", that "mine" is to be taken in the direct sense, not reported.
Both in each one - writes Saint Ambrose - the soul of Mary to magnify the Lord, and in each one the spirit of Mary to rejoice in God […].

For if according to the flesh only one is the mother of Christ, according to faith all souls generate Christ; in fact, each one welcomes in itself the Word of God .
In the light of these principles, let us now try to apply them to us – to Church and to the soul – Mary's canticle, and see what we must do to “resemble” Mary not only in words, but also in deeds.

Magnificat 5

An evangelical conversion school

Where Mary proclaims the overthrow of the powerful and the proud, the Magnificat reminds the Church qual è l’annuncio essenziale che deve proclamare al mondo. Le insegna a essere anch’essa “profetica”.

The Church lives and implements the canticle of the Virgin when she repeats with Mary: "He has overthrown the powerful, he has sent the rich away empty-handed!", and he repeats it with faith, distinguishing this announcement from all the other pronouncements which he also has the right to make, in matter of justice, of peace, of the social order, as a qualified interpreter of the natural law and custodian of the commandment of Christ dell 'love fraternal.
If the two perspectives are distinct, they are not however separate and without any reciprocal influence.

On the contrary, the announcement of faith of what God has done in the history of salvation (which is the perspective in which the Magnificat is placed) becomes the best indication of what man must do, in turn, in his own human history and, indeed, of what the Church itself has the task of doing, by virtue of the charity that it must also have for the rich, in view of his salvation.

More than "an incitement to overthrow the mighty from their thrones to exalt the lowly", the Magnificat is a salutary warning addressed to the rich and powerful about the tremendous danger they are running, exactly as it will be, in the intentions of Jesus, the parable of the rich man.

That of the Magnificat is therefore not the only way to face the problem, so felt today, of wealth and poverty, hunger and satiety; there are others which are also legitimate which start from history, and not from faith, and to which Christians rightly give their support and Church il suo discernimento.

But this evangelical way is what the Church must always proclaim to everyone as her specific mandate and with which she must support the common effort of all men of good will.

Esso è universalmente valido e sempre attuale.

If by hypothesis (alas, remote!) there were a time and a place where there were no more injustices and social inequalities among men, but where everyone was rich and satiated, the Church should not stop proclaiming there, with Mary , That God send the rich away empty handed.

Indeed, there he should proclaim it with even greater force.

The Magnificat is current in rich countries, no less than in third world countries.
There are planes and aspects of reality that cannot be seen with the naked eye, but only with the aid of a special light: either with infrared rays or with ultraviolet rays.

L’immagine ottenuta con questa luce speciale è molto diversa e sorprendente per chi è abituato a vedere quello stesso panorama alla luce naturale.

The Church possesses, thanks to the word of God, a different image of the reality of the world, the only definitive one, because it was obtained with the light of God and because it is the same one that has God.

Essa non può occultare tale immagine.

On the contrary, he must spread it, without ever tiring, make it known to men, because their eternal destiny depends on it.

È l’immagine che alla fine resterà quando sarà passato “lo schema di questo mondo”.

Make it known, at times, with simple, direct and prophetic words, like Mary's, how things are said of which one is intimately and calmly persuaded.

And this even at the cost of appearing naive and out of touch with the prevailing opinion and the spirit of the time.
The Apocalypse gives us an example of this prophetic, direct and courageous language, in which divine truth is set against human opinion: "You say [and this "you" can be a single person, as it can be a whole society]: “I am rich, I got rich; I need nothing!", but you don't know that you are unhappy, miserable, poor, blind and naked" (Ap 3, 17).

In una celebre favola di Andersen, si parla di un re a cui è stato fatto credere, da lestofanti, che esiste una stoffa meravigliosa che ha la prerogativa di essere invisibile agli sciocchi e inetti e visibile solo ai savi.

Naturally, he is the first to not see it, but he is afraid to say it, for fear of passing for one of the fools, and so do all his ministers and all the people.

The king parades through the streets with nothing on, but everyone, in order not to give themselves away, pretends to admire the beautiful dress, until the little voice of a child is heard shouting in the crowd: "But the king is naked!", breaking the spell, and everyone finally has the courage to admit that that famous dress doesn't exist.

La Chiesa deve essere come la vocina di quel bambino, la quale, a un certo mondo tutto infatuato delle proprie ricchezze e che induce a ritenere pazzo e sciocco chi mostra di non credere in esse, ripete, con le parole dell’Apocalisse: “Tu non sai di essere nudo!”.

Here we see how Mary really, in the Magnificat, "speaks prophetically for the Church": she, first, starting from God, has exposed the great poverty of the wealth of this world.

The Magnificat alone justifies the title of "Star of evangelization" which Saint Paul VI attributed to Mary in his "Evangelii Nuntiandi".

The Magnificat, call to conversion

Sarebbe fraintendere completamente questa parte del Magnificat che parla dei superbi e degli umili, dei ricchi e degli affamati, se la confinassimo solo nell’ambito delle cose che la Chiesa e il credente devono predicare al mondo.

Here we are not dealing with something that must only be preached, but with something that must above all be practiced. Mary can proclaim the beatitude of the humble and the poor because she herself is among the humble and the poor.

The reversal you envisage must take place first of all in the heart of those who repeat the Magnificat and pray with it. God - Mary says - he overthrew the proud "in the thoughts of their hearts".
Suddenly, the discourse is taken from the outside to the inside, from theological discussions, in which everyone is right, to thoughts of the heart, in which we are all wrong.

The man who lives "for himself", whose God non è il Signore, ma il proprio “io”, è un uomo che si è costruito un trono e vi siede sopra dettando legge agli altri.

Time God – dice Maria – rovescia questi tali dal loro trono; mette a nudo la loro non-verità e ingiustizia.

There is an inner world, made up of thoughts, wills, desires and passions, from which - says St. James - come the wars and quarrels, the injustices and abuses that are in our midst (cf Jas 4, 1) and until no one begins by healing this root, nothing really changes in the world and if something changes it is to reproduce, shortly thereafter, the same situation as before.

Come ci raggiunge da vicino il cantico di Maria, come ci scruta a fondo e come mette davvero “la scure alla radice”!

What foolishness and inconsistency would I ever be, if every day, at Vespers, I repeated, with Mary, that God “he has overthrown the mighty from their thrones” and in the meantime I continued to yearn for power, a higher place, human promotion, career advancement and I would lose my peace if it is late in coming; if every day I proclaimed, with Mary, that God “he sent the rich away empty” and meanwhile you ceaselessly yearn to get rich and to possess more and more things and more and more refined things; if you'd rather be empty-handed in front of God, instead of empty-handed before the world, empty of the goods of Godrather than empty of the goods of this world.

What foolishness would I be if I kept repeating, with Maria, that God "look towards the humble", who draws near to them, while keeping the proud and the rich in everything at a distance, and then ditches of those who do exactly the opposite.

Tutti i giorni – ha scritto Lutero commentando il Magnificat – dobbiamo constatare che ognuno si sforza di elevarsi al di sopra di sé, a una posizione d’onore, di potenza, di ricchezza, di dominio, a una vita agiata e a tutto ciò che è grande e superbo.

E ognuno vuole stare con tali persone, corre loro dietro, le serve volentieri, ognuno vuol partecipare alla loro grandezza […].

Nessuno vuole guardare in basso, dove c’è povertà, vituperio, bisogno, afflizione e angoscia, anzi tutti distolgono lo sguardo da una tale condizione.

Everyone runs away from people so tried, avoids them, leaves them alone, no one thinks of helping them, of assisting them and of making them too become something: they must remain low and be despised.

God – Mary reminds us – she does the opposite of this: she keeps the proud at a distance and raises the humble and the little ones up to herself; he is more willingly with the needy and hungry who bombard him with supplications and requests, than with the rich and full who have no need of him and ask him for nothing.

In doing so, Mary exhorts us, with maternal sweetness, to imitate Godto make our choice.

It teaches us the ways of God. The Magnificat is truly a wonderful school of evangelical wisdom.

A school of continuous conversion.
Come tutta la Scrittura, esso è uno specchio (cf Gc 1, 23) e sappiamo che dello specchio si possono fare due usi molto diversi.

Lo si può usare rivolto verso l’esterno, verso gli altri, come specchio ustorio, proiettando la luce del sole verso un punto lontano fino a incendiarlo, come fece Archimede con le navi romane, oppure lo si può usare tenendolo rivolto verso di sé, per vedere in esso il proprio volto e correggerne i difetti e le brutture.

St. James exhorts us to use it above all in this second way, to put ourselves "in focus", before others.
“La Scrittura – diceva san Gregorio Magno – cresce a forza di essere letta” . Lo stesso avviene del Magnificat, le sue parole sono arricchite, non consunte, dall’uso.

Prima di noi schiere di santi o di semplici credenti hanno pregato con queste parole, ne hanno assaporato la verità, messo in pratica il contenuto.

For the communion of saints in the mystical body, all this immense patrimony now adheres to the Magnificat. It is good to pray it like this, in choir, with all the praying people of the Church.

God listen to it like this.
To enter this chorus that spans the centuries, it is enough that we intend to resubmit a God i sentimenti e il trasporto di Maria che per prima lo intonò “in nome della Chiesa”, dei dottori che lo commentarono, degli artisti che lo musicarono con fede, dei pii e degli umili di cuore che lo vissero.

Thanks to this wonderful canticle, Mary continues to magnify the Lord for all generations; her voice, like that of a coryphaea, supports and drags that of the Church.
A person praying in the psalter invites everyone to join him, saying: "Magnify the Lord with me" (Ps 34:4).

Maria repeats to her parents sons the same words. If I dare to interpret the thought of him, the Saint Father, nel giorno del suo Giubileo sacerdotale, rivolge a tutti noi lo stesso invito: “Magnificate il Signore con me”.

And we, Your Holiness, promise to do so.

Sermons to the Papal Household of Father Raniero Cantalamessa


Eugene Robert
Eugene Ruberto
Magnificat 3

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