How I rejoice in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl. . . . For he, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me. - Luke 1:47-49
Modern society rewards its celebrities handsomely. They are welcome in the best hotels, and they are forgiven the worst behavior. The longest limousines await them, the shortest waiting lines confront them, and the fattest bank accounts provide for them. Their fans press to intercept them, and the media mass to interview them. Young people imitate them, while older people tolerate them. Fame and fortune are lavished upon them, but maturity and responsibility are not expected of them. They live charmed lives—if not always charming, they become accustomed to enjoying life’s luxuries and unaccustomed to dealing with life’s necessities. For many of their admirers, their status is something to be aspired to, and their exalted position something to be longed for.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is known the world over. She has been the model for a million works of art, the topic of theological debates, the subject of encyclicals, the object of veneration. Dogmas have been attached to her, superstitions and mystical beliefs have clustered around her. But how did she view herself?
Her song of praise was directed away from herself. The topic of her heart was “Oh how I praise the Lord. How I rejoice in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46-47). The reason for her adoration was this: “For he took notice of his lowly servant girl” (v. 48). She had no illusions about herself and no confusion about the Lord: “He, the Mighty One, is holy,” she affirmed (1:49). The Holy One had taken note of the lowly one. She interpreted the “great things” he had done for her in the context of something far greater and grander than her own interests. She knew it had to do with his mercy extended “from generation to generation” (1:50)—what he had done for her he had done for “his servant Israel,” in accord with what he had promised (1:54).
There was no trace of haughtiness in Mary. Her only claim to fame was that the Lord had “exalted the lowly” (1:52). Mary had no room for self-congratulation, because she knew that the Lord “scatters the proud and haughty ones” (1:51). She had no reservation in praising the Holy One and no desire to see herself other than as a blessed lowly one.
How sobering it is to realize that the Lord takes notice of the “lowly” and that it is the “hungry” who are satisfied with good things from his hand. How sad it is to think that the Lord will send “away with empty hands” many of today’s “rich” (1:53). Better to be a lowly one before the Holy One!
For Further Study: Luke 1:46-56