Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Exalting the humble and meek

“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.” - 1 Samuel 2:4-5

The song of Hannah is in response to her bearing a son despite her prior sterility. This is a common theme found throughout the bible, a woman who is thought to be incapable of bearing children conceives and bears a son. Sarah and Abraham, Hannah and Elkanah, Elizabeth and Zechariah, all were thought barren, yet God in his mercy and love blessed them with sons who played a prominent role in salvation history. Hannah's song is a song of thanksgiving and love for God, and it reveals that God exalts those who are humble and put their faith in him while he humbles those who are exalted by the world. He seats the lowly with princes and in this way shows his justice and mercy, for in God's eyes, we are all on a level playing field.

This song is also along the same lines as Our Lady's Magnificat, in that through the conception of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother has experienced blessing much the same way as Hannah did, and she gives glory to the Lord for his favor. Both Hannah and Our Lady gave birth to sons who sought to instill in the people of Israel the depth of their sinfulness and to lead them to repentance, a change of heart. Samuel can be seen as a forerunner (or type) of Christ. Perhaps Our Lady was familiar with Hannah's song and her son Samuel, and because of the similarities of their situation sang the Magnificat as an honor to them both and to God her savior.

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. - Luke 1:51-55


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