The Magnificat is the song that the Virgin Mary sang after Elizabeth told her that she is going to give birth to God's son. This is the story told in the Bible in the book of Luke Chapter 1, verses 46-55. It is also known as the Song of Mary. "Magnificat" is a Latin word meaning "magnifies" (saying how great [God] is).
The words of the Magnificat have been set to music by many composers. These musical settings were mostly written for church services. In the Anglican Church it is always sung as part of the traditional evening service (Evensong).
Like all other New Testament texts the Magnificat was originally written in Koine Greek, but in the Western Church it is most often to be found in Latin or the language of the country.
The Latin text from the Vulgate is as follows:
- Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
- et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
- Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.
- Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
- Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est,
- et sanctum nomen eius.
- Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies
- timentibus eum.
- Fecit potentiam in brachio suo,
- dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
- Deposuit potentes de sede
- et exaltavit humiles.
- Esurientes implevit bonis
- et divites dimisit inanes.
- Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
- recordatus misericordiae suae.
- Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
- Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
- Gloria Patri et Filio
- et Spiritui Sancto,
- sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
- et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
The English words of the Magnificat in the traditional translation found in the Book of Common Prayer:
- My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
- For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
- For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
- For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
- And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
- He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
- He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
- He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
- He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
The Magnificat (The soul rejoices in the Lord) found in the Roman Breviary
- My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
- my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
- for he has looked with favor on his humble servant.
- From this day all generations will call me blessed,
- the Almighty has done great things for me,
- and holy is his Name.
- He has mercy on those who fear Him
- in every generation.
- He has shown the strength of his arm,
- he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
- He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
- and has lifted up the humble.
- He has filled the hungry with good things,
- and the rich he has sent away empty.
- He has come to the help of his servant Israel
- for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
- the promise he made to our fathers,
- to Abraham and his children for ever.
- Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
- as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
- Amen. Alleluia