The commentary of the cover

Happy Anniversary ! by Pierre-Marie Dumont

Front Cover Artwork  at Christmas 1992, the first issue of Magnificat appeared in France. Twenty-five years later, at Christmas 2017, Magnificat exists in seven languages, uniting nearly a million faithful the world over in the communion of the prayers of the Church. On this anniversary, I propose we offer thanksgiving as we contemplate the treasure of sacred art that adorns this month’s cover of Magnificat: what more beautiful, more appropriate icon for our Magnificat than this Blessed Virgin Mary, a Madonna of Humility, seated, not on a throne, but directly on the primordial turf! Magnificat truly lives up to its name. In its own modest way, its mission is akin to that of this Blessed Virgin Mary who, in prayer and adoration, here presents us her Child: she bore the Word in her womb and brought him into the world that his life might become the good of all.

Yet, exalted above the angels through the wonders God did for her, Mary nonetheless remains totally humble. Magnificat was conceived in her image, as a humble servant of the liturgy of the Church. It bears in its pages the Word of God and the prayers of his Mystical Body. Thus, it glories, not in its own originality, but in the faithfulness with which it daily offers to all the opportunity to pray the preeminent prayer of the Church, that is, to pray united to the Eucharistic Prayer that Christ addresses to God, his Father, for the salvation of the world.

In the background of his Madonna of Humility, Gentile da Fabriano († 1427) has depicted a Nativity scene. We see the donkey, the ox, and Saint Joseph, the beloved spouse of the Mother of God. For me, these figures from the first crèche call to mind those who enabled the first issue of Magnificat to see the light of day: Sister Isabelle-Marie Brault († 2011), Bernadette Dumont, Frédérique Chatain, and Vincent Montagne. They saw themselves as simple servants, yet, with the help of God, they worked wonders. On the left of the painting, we can just make out the shepherds, listening to the angel choir and already setting off. In them, I like to see the faces of all of us, the Magnificat faithful. Today we form one great spiritual family sharing a same faith, a same love of the Word of God, a same faithfulness to the prayer of the Body of Christ. And so it is as a family that on this anniversary, with one hear and one soul, we sing our act of thanksgiving, our Magnificat.

 Pierre-marie Dumont

 

Gentile da Fabriano (v.1370-1427), La Nativité, The J. Paul Getty Museum, LA © Digital image, courtesy of the Getty’s Open content program