1 Samuel 1:24-28
When Hannah had weaned the infant Samuel, she took him up with her together with a three-year old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was with them. They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli. She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’
There she left him, for the Lord.
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
In the Pixar animated film Inside Out, a young girl named Riley faces great emotional upheaval when her family is uprooted from her hometown and moves to a new place. Usually a happy girl, she was at a loss at dealing with these new, unfamiliar circumstances. She buried her sadness within herself, not allowing herself to show her vulnerability and pain to her parents. Fear and anger took over her emotions, and she ended up almost running away from home. It was only when she accepted the concern of her parents and acknowledged her fear and sadness, that interestingly, joy managed to fill her heart.
Both the first reading and the gospel portray women of great faith – Hannah and Mary. They both praise the Lord with heartfelt words, reflecting their profound humility. They were completely open to God, acknowledging that they are nothing, yet are loved and blessed by God. As such, they are willing to submit themselves completely to Him.
“My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour…” Try reading the Magnificat aloud to yourself. Do you sincerely mean what you are saying? I used the story of Inside Out in my opening paragraph, as I can relate to it in the sense that many times, I resist being vulnerable to God. I see in the Magnificat Mary’s openness with God. One cannot be the handmaid of God if there is a wall in between. There are emotions that I do not wish to encounter by openly conversing with God, but yet I know I must, to avoid the deep-seated unhappiness caused by sin. This Christmas, I pray for a breaking down of this wall, and a more trusting relationship with God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray that the words of Mary’s Magnificat will inspire us to face God with humility and trust.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the strength that God gives us to withstand difficult times.