The Canticle of Mary

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.


The Canticle of Mary/The Magnificat

The Magnificat [Latin: magnifies], also called The Canticle of Mary, is recorded in the Gospel of Luke
(1:46-55). It is the Virgin Mary’s joyous prayer in response to her cousin Elizabeth’s greeting (Luke 1: 41-
45). This great hymn forms part of the Church’s prayer in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours). When
it is recited as part of the Divine Office, it is followed by the Gloria Patri (“Glory be”). The traditional sung
Magnificat is Latin plainchant. One of the hymn’s most glorious musical renditions is the version of the
Magnificat by J.S. Bach.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Magnificat as “the song both of the Mother of God
and of the Church” [CCC 2619], and explains this prayer’s significance:

Mary’s prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the Incarnation of the Son
of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the
Father’s plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ’s conception; at Pentecost, for the
formation of the Church, His Body. In the faith of His humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the
acceptance He had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made “full of grace”
responds by offering her whole being: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me
according to Thy word”. “Fiat”: this is Christian prayer: to be wholly Gods’ because He is wholly ours.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2617

— The Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity,

The Ten Virtues of Mary

In his classic work True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort lists Mary’s ten principal virtues as:

  • Profound humility
  • Lively faith
  • Blind obedience
  • Continual prayer
  • Universal mortification
  • Divine purity
  • Ardent charity
  • Heroic patience
  • Angelic sweetness
  • Divine wisdom