Proud or Humble?

At first glance, Mary appears to speak out of both sides of her mouth in today’s gospel. On one hand, she rejoices that God scatters the proud in their conceit. Yet on the other hand, she rejoices that all generations will call her blessed- an assertion that, taken in isolation, sounds like a prideful boast. We might ask: “How can Mary speak of the proud’s humiliation while she herself sounds so proud?”

In truth, Mary is not arrogant at all. She doesn’t boast of own accomplishments; she celebrates instead what God has done for her. She’s not prideful; she’s simply grateful. Instead of singing her own praises, she praises the greatness of the Lord.

Mary knew full well that it was God who had raised her up; she understood that it was God who had looked on her with favor; she acknowledged that it was the Lord who had chosen her to be the mother of his Son.

Because of this, Mary is a model for us, because she exemplifies the virtue of humility- the humility of knowing that all good things around us are sent from heaven above; the humility of accepting that any good we might do finds its origin in God’s grace; and the humility of a life lived, not for our glory, but for the glory of God. Mary soul doesn’t magnify herself. Instead, her soul “magnifies the Lord.”

Readings for today’s Mass:

Photo credit: joguldi via Creative Commons