The Influence of the Old Testament in Mary’s Magnificat

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“So Mary trusted God more than what her eyes could see,” reads the Jesus Storybook Bible.

Gabriel had told her an astonishing thing—she as a virgin would be the mother of the Son of God, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

Later, Mary responds with a song of praise to God, known today as the Magnificat.

Mary’s song reflects her deep knowledge of the lives and words of the Old Testament saints, and in particular, Hannah’s story resonated with Mary.

Over a thousand years earlier, Hannah sang a song of praise to God for blessing her barren womb, and Mary praised God for making fertile the womb of a virgin.

Here are a few more similarities between the praises of these women of faith:

Hannah’s Song Mary’s Song
“My heart exults in the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:1). “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46).
“I rejoice in your salvation” (1 Sam. 2:1). “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46).
“There is none holy like the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:2). “Holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).
“Talk no more so very proudly” (1 Sam. 2:3). “He has scattered the proud” (Luke 1:51).
“The bows of the mighty are broken” (1 Sam. 2:4). “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones” (Luke 1:52).
“But the feeble bind on strength” (1 Sam. 2:4). “Exalted those of humble estate” (Luke 1:52).
“Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread” (1 Sam. 2:5). “The rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 2:53).
“Those who were hungry have ceased to hunger” (1 Sam. 2:5). “He has filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 2:53).
“He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap” (1 Sam. 2:8). “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant” (Luke 2:48).
“He raises up the poor…to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor” (1 Sam. 2:8). “From now on all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 2:48).
“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones” (1 Sam. 2:9). “His mercy is for those who fear him” (Luke 2:50).

Reflecting on the words of these “two Magnificats,” I can’t help but praise God for the influence of the great saints before us and seek to understand how their theology applies to us today.

What will my magnificat be? And what will you sing?