On today’s Feast of the Visitation, we remember when Mary visited Elizabeth. Our devotion focuses on Mary’s song, the Magnificat, and comes from Luther’s Works, Volume 21 (The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat).
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The young mother of our Lord Jesus showed commendable courage and faithfulness in bearing Him. In great humility, she sought to give all the honor and glory to God for this miracle, not to herself. May the Holy Spirit help us respond the same way to all of God’s actions in our lives!
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. . . .
This, then, is the meaning of these words of the Mother of God: “In all those great and good things there is nothing of mine, but He who alone does all things, and whose power works in all, has done such great things for me.” For the word “mighty” does not denote a quiescent power, as one says of a temporal king that he is mighty, even though he may be sitting still and doing nothing. But it denotes an energetic power, a continuous activity, that works and operates without ceasing. . . .
She adds, “And holy is His name.” That is to say: “As I lay no claim to the work, neither do I to the name and fame. For the name and fame belong to Him alone who does the work. It is not proper that one should do the work and another have the fame and take the glory. I am but the workshop in which He performs His work; I had nothing to do with the work itself. No one should praise me or give me the glory for becoming the Mother of God, but God alone and His work are to be honored and praised in me. It is enough to congratulate me and call me blessed, because God used me and did His works in me.” Behold, how completely she traces all to God, lays claim to no works, no honor, no fame. She conducts no higher honors than before. She is not puffed up, does not vaunt herself or proclaim with a loud voice that she is become the Mother of God. She seeks not any glory, but goes about her usual household duties. . . .
That is the meaning of the clause: “Holy is His name.” For “holy” means “separated,” “dedicated to God,” that none should touch or defile it but all should hold it in honor. And “name” means a good report, fame, praise, and honor. Thus everyone should let God’s name alone, not lay hands on it or appropriate it to himself. . . . For we desecrate God’s name when we let ourselves be praised or honored, or when we take pleasure in ourselves and boast of our works or our possessions, as is the way of the world, which constantly dishonors and desecrates the name of God. But as the works are God’s alone, so, too, the name should be His. And all that thus hallow His name and deny themselves all honor and glory, rightly honor His name, and therefore are hallowed by it.
Devotional reading is from Luther’s Works, Volume 21 (The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat), pages 324, 328–30 © 1956, 1984 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son and made known through her Your gracious regard for the poor and lowly and despised. Grant that we may receive Your Word in humility and faith, and so be made one with Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer is from Lutheran Service Book: Collects of the Day, page 28 © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.