In Exalted: How the Power of the Magnificat Can Transform Us, Sonja Corbitt offers a verse by verse study of the Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55). The Magnificat is Mary’s prayer of praise when her cousin Elizabeth acknowledges that pregnant Mary as “the mother of my Lord.”
Corbitt is known as the “Bible Study Evangelista” and brings a solid knowledge of both the Old and New Testaments to her discussion of Mary’s song. She not only describes the historical and theological background of the Magnificat; she strives to explore the ways the Magnificat has meaning in each of our own lives. She challenges us to believe that, like Mary, God can do great things with our lives if we surrender our lives to Him. The question we should ask ourselves is not, “What do I want to do for God?” but rather, “What does he want to do with me?”
Corbitt also invites us to see the hand of God at work in our lives in every circumstance. The key point is to be humble like Mary. “One of the most pervasive impediments to going all-in with God is the fear we will lose ourselves by doing so . . . And yet what we miss in our unwillingness to be humbled in the exaltation he intended for us all along.”
One of the interesting things I learned is that Mary’s name comes from the same root as “myrrh” which means “bitter.” In the Bible, one’s name reveals much about the person. Myrrh was present with the magi, on the cross, and in the tomb. Myrrh was also used in the tabernacle incense used in front of the Jewish holy of holies. Mary was a “myrrh bearer,” experiencing great bitterness in terms of the suffering that she would endure. “Mary received her suffering as a precious gift, because the object of her suffering was her son.”
Exalted can be used by individuals or groups. At the end of each chapter, there is a review, invitation, and a God prompt to help readers go deeper in their spiritual lives. We, too, are called to give praise to God with both our words and our lives.