The Strength of His Arm – Mary’s Magnificat, Word by Word with Sonja Corbitt

Most of what we consider “life” is sandwiched between two periods of inactive helplessness – birth/infancy and death. Weakness and dependence straddle human life. Helplessness, then, cannot be inferior to independence.

This punctuation at both ends of my doing seems designed to teach, and even warn me, that neither the beginning nor the completion of my life depends on me. Therefore the value of my lifespan is not solely dependent on the strength, activity, work, or ability to contribute to society that I place so much value on.

Mary’s Magnificat teaches me that the might of God’s arm depends on what we express in receiving, not what we express in achieving.

For other episodes in this series, visit the Discerning Hearts Sonja Corbitt page

Scripture References for The Show

Luke 1:46-55, the words of the Magnificat

And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”

Isaiah 53:1, 53:2 ff, Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

Habakkuk 3:4, His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.

Psalm 77:10-20, Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known.

2 Corinthians 12:9, But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Joel 3:10 Let the weak say, I am strong.

Psalm 37:1-6, Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your vindication as the light, and your right as the noonday.

Matthew 7:9-11, Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Episode Resources

My Promise and Purpose Await in Integrity, Sonja Corbitt

Redemptoris Mater, (John Paul II) She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she “has the right” to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary “intercedes” for mankind. And that is not all. As a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that salvific power of his which is meant to help man in his misfortunes, to free him from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon his life (29).

This week’s LOVE the Word exercise (interactive scripture meditation, or lectio divina) is based on a Thomistic* personality approach. Go on! Try it!

Listen (Lectio)

“Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:8-9).

Observe (Meditatio)

Consider weakness. Reflect upon it. To whom does this verse apply? What does this verse mean? Where is the connection between our weakness and God’s strength? When is God’s power clearly seen? Why does Paul “boast of his weakness”?

What circumstance in your life right now is God calling you to remain weak, in order that the strength of His arm may be revealed? Do you want to see Him move mightily on your behalf? How do you need to change your approach in order to be obedient to this call? What might happen if you “pass over” with Jesus by purposely allowing yourself to remain weak? How is this approach like “the little way” of St. Therese of Lisieux?

Verbalize (Oratio)

Talk to God about your fears, concerns, and desires in the circumstance you named, above. Ask Him, with Jesus and Mary, St. Therese and all the saints, to help you rest deliberately in your weakness. Ask to see Him work and move on your behalf.

Entrust (Contemplatio)

End your meditation by fully entrusting the circumstance to Him. You may have to repeat this prayer many times as you wait on the Lord: “Jesus, I trust in you.”


*Interactive scripture meditations, LOVE Exercises, vary weekly according to the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Ignatian, Augustinian, Franciscan, and Thomistic.


 For more resources and Sonja’s scripture meditation exercise for this episode visit  the Bible Study Evangelista website  

Sonja’s books can found here

Sonja Corbitt is the Bible Study Evangelista. She’s a Catholic Scripture teacher with a story teller’s gift – a Southern Belle with a warrior’s heart and a poet’s pen.

We’re all sweating and dirty with the effort to love and lift all He’s given to us – those people, duties, callings, and longings that break our hearts and make them sing, sometimes at the same time. But most times, we need to be loved and lifted ourselves.

So her Bible study media are created with you in mind, bites of spinach that taste like cake, to help you make space in your busy heart and schedule for God to love and lift you all the way up into His great lap, where all you’ve been given is loved and lifted too.

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