Reflection – Gratitude and the Magnificat

February 2, 2019 – “Dear children! The love and goodness of the Heavenly Father give revelations which make faith grow, for it to be interpreted, that it may bring peace, certainty and hope. In this way, I, too, my children-through the merciful love of the Heavenly Father-always, anew, am showing you the way to my Son, to eternal salvation. But, unfortunately, many of my children do not want to hear me; many of my children are of two minds. And I-I always, in time and beyond time, magnified the Lord for all that He has done in me and through me…”

“… And I-I always, in time and beyond time, magnified the Lord for all that He has done in me and through me…”

Was anyone else reminded of the Magnificat after reading this? I love this beautiful Song of Mary. I actually read it for the first time in a while, and it nearly brought me to tears. I remember reading it every day when I decided to live my faith seriously; it’s a reminder in gratitude to the Lord. And here, in this new message, Our Lady is again reminding us of that.

It’s easy to lose focus, and it’s easy to become complacent and find ourselves stuck in “two minds.” The enemy of the soul never sleeps, and works in countless ways to destroy those who lack faith and a strong resolve to follow Christ. Having “two minds,” being lukewarm, and lacking faith and conviction, can leave us vulnerable to such spiritual attacks. That’s why gratitude is so important.

While all there seems to be is injustice, corruption, and darkness in the world, gratitude puts us in the right perspective on life. We see things in the light of His love and mercy for us. We become more singly focused in His service, and humbled for grace in action in our lives. Gratitude gives us a window into the Truth.

Fulton Sheen wrote a chapter about the Magnificat in his book, The World’s First Love. Here’s an excerpt from that chapter, which I think articulates everything quite well:

“My soul magnifies the Lord: My spirit has found joy in God, Who is my Savior.” The faces of women had been veiled for centuries, and the faces of men were veiled, too, in the sense that men hid themselves from God. But now that the veil of sin is lifted, the Woman stands upright and looks at the face of God to praise Him. When the Divine enters into the human, then the soul thinks less of asking than of loving Him. The lover seeks no favors from the beloved; Mary has no petitions but only praise. As the soul becomes detached from things and is conscious of itself and of its destiny, it knows itself only in God. The egotist magnifies himself, but Mary magnifies the Lord. The carnal think first of body, and the mediocre think of God as an afterthought. In Mary nothing takes precedence over Him Who is God the Creator, the Lord of history, and the Savior of mankind.

When our friends praise us for our deeds, we thank them for their kindness. When Elizabeth extols Mary, Mary glorifies her God. Mary receives praise as a mirror receives light; she stores it not, nor even acknowledges it, but makes it pass from her to God to Whom is due all praise, all honor and thanksgiving. The shortened form of this song is: “Thank God.” Her whole personality is to be at the service of her God. Too often do men praise God with our tongues, while our hearts are far from Him. “Words go up, but thoughts remain below.” But it was the soul and spirit of Mary, and not her lips, that overflowed in words, because the secret of Love within had already burst its bonds.

Why magnify God, Who cannot became less by subtraction through our atheism or greater by the addition of our praise? It is true—not in Himself does God change stature through our recognition, any more than, because a simpleton mocks the beauty of a Raphael, the painting loses its beauty. But, in us, God is capable of increase and decrease as we are lovers or sinners. As our ego inflates, the of God seems to be less; as our ego deflates, the need of God appears in its true hunger.

(Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love, p. 45-46)

And so, the Blessed Mother sang:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.” [Luke 1:47-55]

Amen! May we, too, follow in Our Lady’s example of humility, gratitude, and a single-minded focus to God and His will!