Today the Church honors Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. The Church, including Martin Luther and the Lutheran confessions, honor Mary with the title theotokos, meaning “God-bearer,” for her role in giving birth to the Son of God.
Read Luke 1:39-55
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
What was the significance of the baby leaping at the sound of Mary’s voice? (Luke 1:41, 44)
In what way was Mary blessed? (Luke 1:42)
Why did Elizabeth describe herself as “favored”? (Luke 1:43)
In what significant way did Elizabeth address Mary? (Luke 1:43)
Why did Elizabeth’s baby leap in her womb? (Luke 1:44)
In what ways could we describe both Mary and Elizabeth as “blessed” women?
For what work of God do you want to celebrate or praise Him?
“She became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child…. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God…. None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God.” Luther’s Works, 21:326, cf. 21:346
“On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed virgin, did not conceive a mere, ordinary human being, but a human being who is truly the Son of the most high God, as the angel testifies. He demonstrated his divine majesty even in his mother’s womb in that he was born of a virgin without violating her virginity. Therefore she is truly the mother of God and yet remained a virgin.” Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, article VIII.24
“The mighty one has done great things for me; and holy is his name. (Luke 1:49)
It may be that someone will be frightened by such great deeds of God, unless the person believes not only that God has the power and the knowledge to do such mighty deeds but also that he has the will and the love to act thus. Yet it is not enough to believe that God wills to do great deeds with others but not with you, thus excluding yourself from such divine action, as those do who do not fear God in the height of their power but give in faintheartedly when they are in trouble. For such a faith is futile and dead, like a delusion from a fairy tale. You must rather, without any wavering or doubt, realize his will toward you and firmly believe that he will do great things also to you and is willing to do so. Such a faith has life and being; it pervades and changes the whole person. It constrains you to live in fear if you are prosperous and to be comforted if you are in need. The more prosperous you, are the more you should live in fear; and the deeper you are cast down, the more you should be comforted. With this faith all things are possible, as Christ says (Mark 9:23); it alone abides. Such a faith also comes to experience the works of God and thus attains to the love of God and leads to songs and praise of God, so that the believer esteems God highly and truly magnifies him. ” Martin Luther, Commentary on the Magnificat, 1521. LW 21:306; WA 7:553f.“
Johnson, Marshall D., ed. Day by Day We Magnify You: Daily Readings for the Entire Year. Revised Edition. Minneapolis: Augsburg Books, 2008.
Pray or sing the Magnificat as your own prayer.