Junko Kikuchi, head of the German-speaking Church Relations Committee
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed. (Luke 1:46-48)
Not a few of those who read the Bible might feel something odd when they see this verse in March. It is a part of the famous praise that was put in Mary’s mouth and is seen not now in Lent, but in the season of Christmas as one of the beautiful scenes.
However, you may know that the process of this word being put into Mary’s mouth is never a romantic story. An angel tells an unexpected pregnancy to an “ordinary” young woman of that time who was preparing for marriage. Whatever the fact was, it was a case worthy of being accused. It is written in Matthew that Joseph, Mary’s fiancé faced big trouble because of this.
As the picture by Simone Martini depicts Mary with a stern expression “Why me?” in front of the angel who told her the pregnancy, Luke tells that she said, “How could this happen?” The woman who had been full of joy toward the marriage got thrown into the abyss suddenly.
Then, praise came out of Mary’s mouth. What happened to her? The greatest crisis, the troubled time that struck a young woman; that woman is now praising God based on the faith to God. The Bible does not go into the details as usual. What is described is the figure of a vulnerable person who was pushed out by God to the place of deep joy. She couldn’t help praising the Lord now that she knew God had interfered, even if troubles come to her.
The season of Lent is the time of blessings when we are in troubles. Because it’s the time to focus on the days that Jesus walked the path of passion for six weeks.