Celebrating Our First Christian Steward: The Blessed Virgin Mary
On August 15 we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption; the day we recall Our Blessed Mother being assumed into heaven and crowned queen. In the Gospel reading on this day we hear proclaimed once again the Canticle of Mary, recorded in the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55). It is the Virgin Mary’s song of joy in response to her cousin Elizabeth’s greeting (Luke 1:41-45), and summarizes Mary’s deep faith and trust in God.
This joyous song is also known as the Magnificat, from the opening line of scripture’s Latin translation which means “My soul magnifies the Lord” (“Magnificat anima mea Dominum”). The Magnificat is a beautiful stewardship prayer used by the Church every day since the fifth century. It is a hymn at Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.
The Cathecism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the Magnificat: ... is the song both of the Mother of God and of the Church; the song of the Daughter of Zion and of the new People of God; the song of thanksgiving for the fullness of graces poured out in the economy of salvation and the song of the “poor” whose hope is met by the fulfillment... (#2619).
Among the many stewardship themes in this reading, the prayer helps us realize that God’s stewardship plan turns the world’s values upside down. God comes to the aid of the poor and lowly, to the detriment of the rich and powerful. And for those who entrust their lives to the Lord, they are filled with good things. As a young woman, humble and poor, Mary becomes an interpreter of God’s plan of salvation, she reveals to us the fundamentals of good stewardship, and she becomes a prophetic witness to social justice for all future generations who “will call me blessed” (Luke 1: 48). Mary was the first disciple, the first Christian steward of God’s plan.
Take a few moments and pray this stewardship prayer. Consider its implications for your life. How do you magnify the Lord? How do you make God “bigger” in your day-to-day world? How do you bring God’s compassion to the poor?
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