Description of Illustration: watercolor by James Tissot, restored by Kathy Grimm, Tissot named his paintings and this one is called "The Magnificat", Mary her cousin Elizabeth and Zechariah are pictured here, both Mary and Elizabeth are pregnant, Mary with pregnant with Jesus, Elizabeth pregnant with St. John
The Magnificat (Latin: [My soul] magnifies [the Lord]), also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary, and, in the Byzantine tradition, the Ode of the Theotokos (Greek: Ἡ ᾨδὴ τῆς Θεοτόκου), is a canticle frequently sung or spoken liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name comes from the incipit of the Latin version of the canticle's text.
The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the latter moves within Elizabeth's womb. Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith (using words partially reflected in the Hail Mary), and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat.
Within the whole of Christianity, the Magnificat is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers in the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and Evening Prayer (or Evensong) in Anglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is usually sung at Sunday Matins. Among Protestant groups, the Magnificat may also be sung during worship services, especially in the Advent season during which these verses are traditionally read. Read more...
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