Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
A reflection on the word “THY”
By Dorian Speed
What’s so special about Mary, huh?
That’s what “THY” provokes in me – a memory of myself as the pettiest of teacher’s pets, grousing in my room about why Mary gets all the attention. What about ME? I am in the green group for reading, and I can play three hymns on the piano, and I always get chosen to write names on the board when the teacher is out of the room. Why should Mary get all this attention?
I’m happy to report this memory dates back to 1981, but I must admit I still struggle with the same sins – pride, jealousy, selfishness. And though I’ve matured a bit since first grade, I do still find Mary a bit of a mystery. My affection for her has grown, particularly since becoming a mother myself. At the same time, I understand why some find Marian devotion baffling at best.
So what is so special about Mary? It comes down to two words – fiat and magnificat.
Fiat – “let it be done.” She lived her life in perfect unity with the will of God. This is so difficult for me to wrap my mind around – to imagine myself at the foot of the cross, not lashing out at the crowd, but offering up a heart pierced by a sword. I can’t understand her forgiveness, and I can’t understand her humility, but I can look to her as a model of both.
Magnificat – from Magnificat anima mea Dominum – “my soul declares the greatness of the Lord.” She held nothing back – no hidden corner of her soul where she kept her List of Grudges, no gloating over her perfection. And because she devoted her entire being to God, her life was a reflection of His glory.
Every once in a blue moon, I understand what this means – my soul rejoices in the glory of God. Triggers include: sweet baby kisses, tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes, a gap-toothed grin on a face full of freckles. And I see that my soul is proclaiming the glory of the Lord not because I did something super-amazing, but because I am allowing myself to cooperate fully with Him at that moment.
This, then, is what makes Mary unique, and if I can take my mind off myself long enough to contemplate her fullness of grace, perhaps I can bring a little more fiat and magnificat into my own life.
Dorian Speed is a writer and web designer who blogs about culture, family, faith and random craft projects at Scrutinies.net. She’s also the genius behind the design of my blog, so if you’re reading this in a feed reader, do take a moment to click through and admire her handiwork.
image credit: MorgueFile
Interestingly, the word ‘thy’ is actually a familiar word, similar to the Spanish word, ‘tu’.
We dropped the tradition of using the informal, or familiar, in English during the 18th century textile boom in which the shepherds (read hillbillies) moved into the big city (read Beverly Hills) and no one could tell who had money and who didn’t anymore. The convention became, use the formal ‘you’ all the time!
Go back and read Shakespeare with that in mind and it’ll blow your mind to know how the characters are being respectful of each other when using the ‘you’ and sometimes dissing the other by saying ‘thou’
Or the older versions of our bibles and prayers. ‘Thou’ as it relates to God is a really interesting relationship we have with him.
Very interesting! I thought about trying to go with some sort of word-origins angle but I realized I didn’t know enough about the subject to accurately explain it. So instead I went with “I’m a horrible person and have been since 1981,” which is my go-to approach.
I do remember from my Spanish class that “tutearse” means something like “let’s use ‘tu’ instead of ‘vos’ and be all informal,” or something along those lines. Not really sure if anyone actually uses this word.