Skip to main content

Magnificat (Canticle of Mary)

MAGNIFICAT (CANTICLE OF MARY)

Mary's song of thanksgiving and praise for the mighty act that God had wrought in her and for the salvation that has been given to Israel (Lk 1.4655) is called the Magnificat after the first word of its Latin text. The canticle, which was sung by the Blessed Virgin Mary when greeted by her cousin Elizabeth as the mother of Our Lord (Lk 1.4655), comprises three parts. In 1.46 to1.50 Mary, the eschatological personification of her people, sings praise to God her Savior; in 1.51 to 1.53 she recalls what God has done for Israel, and in 1.54 to 1.55 she sings of the divine plan foretold in Abraham and perfected in herself. In Mary a new beginning has been made as well as a fulfillment.

The Magnificat is used in the Eastern liturgies on certain days in the morning Office, while in the Western Church it has been, from a very early date, the canticle of vespers (Evening Prayer) in the Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran traditions. In solemn Vespers in the Catholic tradition, the ceremonies accompanying its singing in choir, such as incensation of the altar (as at the beginning of solemn Mass), are impressive. By reason of its daily use in medieval times a number of antiphons have been associated with the Magnificat, among them the notable o antiphons of the week preceding christmas.

Bibliography: r. c. tannehill, "Magnificat as Poem," Journal of Biblical Literature 93 (1974) 263275. f. flecken stein, "Marienverehrung in der Musik," in Handbuch der Marienkunde (Regensburg 1984) 622663. r. e. brown, "The Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat (Luke 1:2656)," Worship 62 (1988) 249259. r. f. taft, The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West: The Origins of the Divine Office and Its Meaning for Today, 2d rev. ed. (Collegeville, Minn. 1993). g. guiver, Company of Voices: Daily Prayer and the People of God (New York 1988). p. f. bradshaw, Daily Prayer in the Early Church: A Study of the Origin and Early Development of the Divine Office (London 1981).

[m. e. mciver/

l. j. wagner/eds.]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Magnificat (Canticle of Mary)." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Magnificat (Canticle of Mary)." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 13, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/magnificat-canticle-mary

"Magnificat (Canticle of Mary)." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/magnificat-canticle-mary

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.