Exposition of the Magnificat by Saint John Eudes



Excellence of the Sublime Canticle


Sacred Scripture includes a number of inspired canticles that were composed by saintly women, for example, the canticles of Mary, sister of Moses and Aaron, of Deborah, of Judith, of Anna, mother of the prophet Samuel, all of which give thanks to God for outstanding favors received from His divine bounty. But the holiest and worthiest of all canticles is the Magnificat of the Mother of God, which stands unsurpassed because of the dignity and holiness of its author, as well as because of the great and admirable mysteries it contains. This is to say nothing of the miracles that God has performed by means of this canticle. While there is no record of any miracles having been performed through other canticles, Saint Thomas of Villanova, the Archbishop of Valencia, points out that upon the recitation of this canticle the Holy Spirit wrought a number of wonders on behalf of Saint John the Baptist, the holy precursor of the Son of God, as well as in the person of his parents. Experience also has shown on more than one occasion that the Magnificat is an excellent means of expelling evil spirits from the bodies of those who are possessed by the devil. Several other esteemed writers report various miracles which have taken place through the recitation of this canticle.


“From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”


This brings us to the second part of this verse, namely, “From henceforth all generations shall call me Blessed.” We need not be astonished if the most holy Virgin says something here about herself which is highly favorable, and refers to her own glory and praise, for it is the Holy Spirit Who speaks through her lips. Here is one of the greatest, most celebrated and most important prophecies that was ever made or ever will be made, announcing to mankind the infinity of admirable things that God will accomplish everywhere on earth in every age and everlastingly in Heaven on behalf of the Mother of the Redeemer, in order to make her known, loved, served and honored throughout the world.


This great prophecy, informing us that all generations are to acknowledge and acclaim the Mother of the Blessed Saviour, applies to the whole universe, from the highest Heaven to the lowest depths of Hell. For not only has the Most Blessed Trinity sent the Archangel Gabriel, one of the first princes of Its empire, as ambassador, to announce to Mary that she was full of grace, and that the Lord was with her in order to accomplish in her the greatest wonder of all time, and that she is blessed forever among all women; this same Trinity also exalts Mary above all the angels on the highest throne of glory.


The eternal Father honors her as the most blessed of all women, making her eternally the Mother of the only begotten Son Whose Father He is, and granting her a power which surpasses all the powers of Heaven and earth.


The Son of God proclaims her Blessed among all the nations who hear His holy Gospel, which teaches the fullness of the grandeurs that He has bestowed upon Mary in choosing her to be His Mother.


The Holy Spirit renders her supremely blessed and glorious in choosing her as His most worthy spouse and endowing her with His holiness in such a high degree that she is Queen of all the saints.


All the hierarchies of angels acknowledge Mary to be blessed because in contemplating her on the day of her triumph and glorious Assumption they find the glorious Virgin so filled with wonders that they can speak of them only with admiration and transports of delight. Quae est /sra/they ask, Quae est ista? Who is she? Who is she? And after the adoration that they continually render to God in Heaven, their foremost activity is to proclaim incessant praises of their Sovereign Empress.


Do we not hear the voice of holy Church Militant which perpetually sings all over the earth, “Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary which bore the Son of the eternal Father, and blessed are the breasts which nourished Him?”


Have we not already heard of the merciful Virgin once declaring to Saint Brigid that there is no pain in Purgatory which is not eased through her mediation? And do we not hear the voice of Holy Mother Church asking God to deliver the poor souls from that prison of divine justice through the intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin: Beata Maria semper per Virgine intercedente? It must convince us that the souls of the Church Suffering are not only relieved in their agony but also delivered from it through her mediation.


Is it not also true that the souls who were in Limbo from the beginning of the world until the death of the Son of God profited by the intercession of this incomparable Virgin, since it was she who gave them the Redeemer to free them from captivity?

Let us descend still lower to the utmost depths of Hell. If it is true, as Saint Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, says, that the miserable damned are punished citra condign condignum-that is to say, they do not suffer the full torments merited by their sins-it is certain that this is a concession of divine mercy. Now it is also true that for every effect of grace or mercy that proceeds from the ado