STICKS & STONES / FLESH & BLOOD

Liturgical images and movements that speak to experience

Magnificats

 

The Roman Catholic ritual, Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest (SCAP), suggests the possibility of using the Liturgy of the Hours or parts thereof for the community's worship.  As the community of Dignity-Integrity worships on Sunday evenings, it became our practice to include a form of the gospel canticle of Mary, the Magnificat (Luke 1).

I owe a great debt to Ann Johnson who gave us permission to use her "Magnificat of Waiting for the Fullness of Time" for our first SCAP in the Advent of 1999.  It is from her work, Miryam of Nazareth: Woman of Strength & Wisdom (Notre Dame IN:  Ave Maria Press, 1984).  After her example—acknowledging that our souls, too, magnify the Lord and that we, too, help to put flesh on the gospel—I have composed a number of canticles written in the voice of particular communities at prayer. 

Magnificat of Charity’s Roots

by Michael J. Nicosia © 1999 National Convention of Catholic Charities USA

LEADER:  In you God’s love is revealed.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
My soul exalts in your great compassion,
and my spirit marvels at your saving grace, God my redeemer,
for you have lifted up my lowliness
and used me for your blesséd purpose.

From ancient of days you have done great things for your people.
From this moment on, Mighty One,
your holiness will become incarnate
through my loving care
and my actions on behalf of justice done in your name.

Your mercy is accomplished from age to age
through those who know your heart.
You have shown the power of your love
by convicting the proud,
waking the complacent,
and confounding the powerful;
by their conversion you lift up the lowly.
Those in need you have filled with good things,
while the self-sufficient you have left to their hollow reward.

You have helped your servant people,
remembering your mercy according to your promise.
By reminding us of our obligations
a covenant of justice will be maintained
from one generation to the next and beyond.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  Amen.

LEADER:  In you God’s love is revealed.

 

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Magnificat of Liberation

by Michael J. Nicosia © Advent Reconciliation 2000, St. Patrick's Church, Macedon NY.

LEADER:  In you God’s covenant is established.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
My life testifies to your goodness, O God,
and my spirit is lifted
when I recount your saving deeds.
For you have looked on your servants in their suffering
and have transformed their affliction
into a blessing that endures.
Faithful to the covenant, you raise us;
true to your being and your renown, you save.
In mercy you preserve a loving relationship
with all those who seek your truth.

You confound the proud in their conceit,
their plans made futile in the face of misfortune.
Not open to your grace, the powerful fall;
but the faith of the humble is affirmed.
The lowly know that by touching their hunger
the reality of their need is no longer obscured.
The self-sufficient, however, are left empty,
unaware of their deepest need.

Again and again you help those who know you,
who retell the stories of liberation and love.
Your promises made and fulfilled in the past
are confirmed by the commission given to us:
Faithful servants of your eternal covenant,
we go about the work of setting captives free.

All to your glory,
Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  Amen.

LEADER:  In you God’s covenant is established.

 

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Magnificat of Queer Pride

by Michael J. Nicosia © 2007, Dignity-Integrity/Rochester NY.  Antiphon: 2 Corinthians 8:24 NIV.

LEADER:  Show the proof of your love
and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
Our souls proclaim the greatness of the LORD,
our spirits rejoice in God our Savior.
Our bodies, too, sing praise
for God has looked with favor
on the diversity of Creation and called it good.

Each generation discovers the blessing anew:
the Almighty is doing great things
here and now, through us.
And so we bow before the Name
of the God who empowers and affirms.

In every generation God seeks out the willing,
those who would be his instruments in the world.
She demonstrates her strength
through our determination,
He voices his challenge
through our prophetic stance.
She topples the oppressor through our advocacy
and offers release to those who have been bound by lies.
He satisfies those who hunger for acceptance
and confirms his love for those who love.

God comes to the help of her queer family,
remembering her promise
to save those on the margins.
He sees in us the breadth of
his image and likeness,
She rejoices with us in the power of our love.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  Amen.

LEADER:  Show the proof of your love
and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

 

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Magnificat of Transformation

by Michael J. Nicosia © Easter 2005, Dignity-Integrity/Rochester NY.

LEADER:  In you God’s image is restored.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
My soul glories in the image of my Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in the One who restores it in me.
Having looked with pity on the distortion,
God moves to refashion and make complete.
Though my choices cloud its perfection,
surely, all those who behold the light of blessing within me
will be moved to bless God for it.

Divine mercy is released by those who reflect God’s mercy.
Across the generations God’s peace is passed on
by those who live out the Lord’s commitment to peace.
For the heat of God’s passion has melted our pride;
the warmth of God’s love has molded us into something new.
God has softened the foundation of power’s base,
and made firm the support of the lowly;
Those who suffer injustice will unite in mutual support,
while the energy of their oppressors will drain away.

Ever-faithful to her original desire
God helps her children, created and destined for glory.
The Lord helps us, according to his promise,
and forms us into a people of character and holy purpose.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  Amen.

LEADER:  In you God’s image is restored.

 

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Magnificat of Restoration

by Michael J. Nicosia © Lent 2008, Dignity-Integrity/Rochester NY.

LEADER:  In you God’s light is restored.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
Our souls proclaim the greatness of God’s mercy;
our spirits rejoice in the One who saves.

Lowly and undeserving,
we stand in need of grace and blessing.
—lowly and undeserving,
and still God’s favor rests upon us
and lifts us to our feet.  
Holy is our God
—and still he allows our approach.

In mercy she draws us close:
his powerful word penetrating our hearts;
her flow of life
regenerating the parched and withered way;
his forgiveness clearing a path
through a wilderness of regrets.

No misplaced step,
no misused gift,
no misguided choice
can stop the flow
or give her cause to turn us away.
We hunger—and are fed;
we long to return—and are received.  

God comes to our help again and again
. . . remembering his faithfulness
toward generations of people
who have wandered in and out of darkness
. . . remembering the restoration that happens
whenever we enter her glorious light.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  Amen.

LEADER:  In you God’s light is restored.

 

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Magnificat of Twilight Clarity

by Michael J. Nicosia © 2008, St. John's Home Auxiliary, Rochester NY.

LEADER:  In you all will be blessed.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
My soul exalts in the Lord;
my very bones rejoice in God my Savior.
Though some have regarded as low
the estimation of my worth,
God has affirmed my gifts—
blessings for present generations and those yet to be.

Divine Wisdom speaks great things;
Her holy voice echoing from the well of experience.
Each generation, in turn, must grapple with its fears;
each generation, in time, comes to know God's mercy.

God has made clear that
there is power in our relationships.
The plagues visited upon us shall cease;
loneliness, helplessness and boredom shall be relieved.
The broken find solace in the company of others,
while the self-sufficient fall into isolation.
The weak find strength in interdependence,
while the pursuits of the powerful lead to ruin.
The weary thirst for justice,
while the contented lose the hunger
that inspires dreams of a better world.

Our Helper is faithful
in and through our faithfulness.
By ensuring that no one is left out of the promise,
the blessings of the righteous shall endure forever.

LEADER:  In you all will be blessed.

 

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Magnificat of Peace

by Michael J. Nicosia © Advent 2011, Pax Christi ECC Church, Denver CO.

LEADER:  In you God’s peace is realized.

ALL:    (Sign of the Cross)
My soul is stilled by a profound Presence,
my spirit rests in God my Savior;
for I am aware of the Holy
in both the quiet of my lonely room
and in the assembly of others so richly blessed.

Welcoming all to enter in,
all who come to know this Peace as their own
will give thanks for the Grace bestowed
and sing praises to God’s holy Name.

God’s Peace has been our shelter
in the midst of the contentious storm,
a harbor of rest and replenishment
fitting us for the challenges ahead.
God’s Presence has assured us of our worth
and of the equal worth of all others;
in so doing all the barriers that would divide
are brought down, and all illusions of status or privilege
are dispelled in the warmth of our communion.
God’s Plenty is freely given and shared by all,
no longer meted out at the whim or presumption
of those who think to control the Spirit’s gifts.
God’s Purpose has been revealed
in Divine Mercy remembered
and in the Covenant we continually renew.

The Promise is made to every generation,
to Abraham and Sarah and Hagar,
to Moses, to Mohammed, to the Buddha,
and to all the Blessed.
We celebrate the Sacred
articulated in our apostolic faith,
in the traditions of all who are guided by the Spirit,
in the path of all who honor the earth,
and in the lives of all who seek
to make Peace a reality in our world.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word,
and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now
and will be forever.  Amen.

LEADER:  In you God’s peace is realized.