What comes to mind when you think of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

I think sometimes we place ourselves in a box when we reflect on the Mother of Christ.  We can run the risk of thinking of her as a statue, as a holy, quiet, pious woman who bears the Son of God in her womb for nine months and then retreats into the background.  The reality is that Mary has her own theological and social contribution to make, one that is, frankly, among the most radical and provocative in all of scripture. 

Today we celebrate the feast of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, the visit in which she echoes the words of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, in her famous Magnificat.  Mary's Magnificat is a powerful and stirring call to make Christ felt in our world, it is a call to social change, to radical discipleship, to bringing about the Kingdom of God here and now--it tells us in real terms the difference that Christ's incarnation makes.  Mary is not a silent figure, she is an agent of change in our world, a prophetess, the first and most committed disciple of Jesus.  Take seriously her Magnificat and allow her words to seep into your soul and motivate you to go out into the world and build up the Kingdom.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
— Mary in Luke 1:45-55