Mary rejoiced. Upon greeting her cousin Elizabeth, and greeting the miracle of new life, Mary rejoiced.
And in her rejoicing, an outward and audible praising, we are reminded of the very most basic tenets of human civility and our call as Christians.
Be reverent: Luke’s account uses the word “fear” which for me internally translates as reverence. We revere the God that can strike fear in creation through natural calamity but also awes us with an exploding and endless natural world of resource and abundance.
Be not prideful: Being “proud” and “prideful” are different only semantically — we should be inwardly proud of our accomplishments, our possibilities and those things we “achieve” through God’s guidance. But we must stop short at “proud’s” evil stepsister, “pridefulness” – for therein lies a sense of arrogance and superiority.
Be humble: Humility is hard, because a part of it is an unwillingness to acknowledge goodness for outward gain or accolade. The humble among us don’t know they’re humble unless someone dare speaks it aloud. But the heart of a humble person beats only to serve others with no expectation of personal gain.
Be hungry: “Hunger” is a both literal and figurative necessity. Our hunger helps our brain to guide the hand to truly nourish the body to fuel it to do good works. And so too, our communion with God and others teaches us to listen to our soul’s hunger to be fed by the spirit, and in feeding our own yearning, may we learn to hear and see other’s needs and humbly offer ourselves as servants.
Be faithful: But none of the above “rules to live by” happen without faith. The faith that by adhering to the simplest of these elements of Mary’s rejoicing song, we are doing the will of God. Faith is hard, but if we reverently and humbly bow before God and at the feet of others, our corporal and soulful hunger will be sated through God’s grace.
Something to sing about indeed.
- Stephen Moseley (2013)