As we continue to trace the justice of God, we are now coming to the point where this theme of justice enters overtly into the story of Jesus. Rather than stick within one book, things will be a bit more fluid from this point on, though we will be hitting on some key moments that connect the life and ministry of Jesus to God’s heart for justice. One of those crucial bridges is often remembered at Christmas time and neglected most of the rest of the year, and is commonly refereed to as the Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55). This is the song of Mary in response to the confirmation of God’s work in her body as she meets with her, and ultimately is the response of Mary to the Angel’s proclamation to her. For the first reading, to give it some context, please begin with an overview by reading Luke 1:26- 55. For the readings in the scripture below I want to provide the text of the New Jerusalem Bible as it seems especially fitting for reading out loud.
Luke 1:46-55 (New Jerusalem Bible)
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
48 because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,
50 and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.
51 He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.
52 He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly.
53 He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.
54 He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love
55 -according to the promise he made to our ancestors — of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.
Lectio Divina Instructions
Lectio Divina (or divine reading) is a spiritual reading of scripture. We come to the scripture not
for study only, but approach the text in a sense with openness to receive from God. The traditional lectio framework has four distinct stages outlined in the instructions below.
Reading God’s word (Lectio)
Read Luke Luke 1:26- 55 slowly twice (this is the larger reading from a physical bible). If you are doing this in a group have the listeners close their eyes to help them focus on hearing. As you read listen for a word or phrase that seems “illuminated” for
you. Sit in silence a couple minutes.
Reflecting on God’s word (Meditatio)
Read the passage again, but this time focusing only on Luke 1:46-55 (in the translation above). During the silence reflect on how the passage speaks to your life today.
Responding to God (Oratio)
Read verses 46-55 again. During the few minutes of silence consider how God is calling you to
respond. Pray and tell Jesus your intended response to what you have heard. It might be praise or action of some kind, or something to think further on etc.
Resting in God (Contemplatio)
Read verses 46-55 one final time. Rest in the words in silence for a few minutes. Close in prayer.