19 August 2008

"Magnificat of Acceptance," and "Magnificat of Friendship," by Ann Johnson

As this month of Mary continues, and also because today is the 40th anniversary of my baptism, I thought I would put up a couple more Magnificats written by contemporary women. Two or three pieces of Ann Johnson's poetry in particular are especially lovely. They are taken from Miryam of Nazareth, Woman of Strength and Wisdom, Ave Maria Press, 1984. The first is called the "Magnificat of Acceptance." (My apologies that the original formatting does not come through when the poem is published here.)

My soul trembles in the presence of the loving Creator
and my spirit prepares itself to walk hand in hand
with the God who saves Israel
because I have been accepted by God
as a simple helpmate.

Yes, forever in the life of humankind
people will sing of this loving encounter;
through remembering this moment, the faithful
will know that all things are possible in God.

Holy is the place within me where God lives.

God's tender fingers reach out from age to age
to touch and soften the inner spaces of those
who open their souls in hope.

I have experienced the creative power of God's embracing arms
and I know the cleansing fire of unconditional love.
I am freed from all earthly authority
and know my bonding to the Author of all earthly things.
I am filled with the news of good things:
my favor with God,
faithful trust in the gentle shadow of the Most High,
the mystery of my son, Jesus,
the gift of companionship with my beloved kinswoman,
Elizabeth, who believes as I believe.

The place in my heart I had filled
with thoughts of fear and inadequacy
has been emptied and I am quiet within.

God comes to save Israel, our holy family,
remembering that we are the ones who remember
. . . according to the kinship we have known. . .
remembering that we are the ones who remember
and that where God and people trust each other
there is home.

The second Magnificat is called, the "Magnificat of Friendship" and calls to mind not only my own journey, but those who have made it with me, and especially those women who have assisted and accompanied me, whether in religious or consecrated (eremitical) life, medicine, ministry, etc. I am excited about continuing this journey into ever fuller and more abundant life, and I can't say how grateful I am to God for these women.

My soul flowers in the light of your love, my God
and my spirit sings Alleluia in the reality of your joyful presence,
because you have chosen my kinswoman and me with the
summons of your eyes.

Yes, we are known now and for all time. We are known as women,
Holy is your name.
The tenderness of your hand rests on us as we journey in your way.
Your power in my life has led me into the embrace of loving arms.
You have exposed my lonely pride that I might turn my head to your
nurturing breast.

You have revealed the hollowness of achievements and have opened in
my heart a space filled with simple, loving moments.
My hunger you have satisfied,
my excess you have ignored.

You are my help as I remember your tender love for me,
. . .for we have touched each other you and I
and we have made promises. . .

I remember your tenderness for all that you have begun in me
and in those with whom I walk
and I respond with all that I am becoming
in this hour and in all times to come.