The Magnificat is also known as the Canticle of Mary. It is one of the eight most ancient Catholic chants and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name is the opening word of the Vulgate text (Lk 1: 46:55): Magnificat anima mea, Dominum (My soul doth magnify the Lord). These are the words chanted by Our Lady on the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin St. Elizabeth.
After the Virgin Mary greeted St. Elizabeth, who was carrying the future St. John the Baptist, the child moved in St. Elizabeth's womb. When St. Elizabeth praised the Immaculate Virgin for her faith, Our Lady said the words of what is now known as the Magnificat in response. It is a prayer of praise for the inestimable favor bestowed by God on the Virgin, for the mercies shown to Israel, and for the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham and to the Patriarchs.
The hymn forms a part of the Daily Office in the Roman Catholic Vespers service. The Magnificat is assigned to Vespers because the world was saved in its eventide by the assent of Mary to the Divine plan of Redemption.
It is here sung by the CantArte Regensburg Choir.
Listen to the Magnificat
Magnificat - Latin & English
Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum.
Et exultávit spíritus meus: in Deo salutári meo.
Quia respéxit humilitátem ancíllae suae:
Ecce enim ex hoc beátam me dicent omnes generatiónes.
Quia fécit mihi mágna qui pótens est: et sánctum nómen eius.
Et misericórdia eius in progénies et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fécit poténtiam in bráchio suo: dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui.
Depósuit poténtes de sede: et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis: et dívites dimísit inánes.