A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Saturday 22 December

Samuel 1:24-28; (Responsorial): 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8; Luke 1:46-56

Mary’s whole person

In Mary’s song of praise almost every line is patterned on Hannah’s canticle (1 Samuel 2:1-10). Mary’s opening words are translated usually as: ‘My soul (psychē) magnifies the Lord, and my spirit (pneuma) rejoices …’ The Greek psychē, like the Hebrew word it translates, means the whole living person, not just what is understood usually as ‘the soul.’ Pneuma suggests that aspect of the self which is able to receive the Spirit. Both terms cover all that is meant by the personal pronoun ‘I.’ In what ways does this understanding expand how I/my whole living person praises God?

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