This is the time of year we hear the words of Mary, we hear her say to the angel Gabriel “yes” to being the Tabernacle for God. We hear it but we don’t take it inside of ourselves, we especially have a tendency to almost gloss over her response to Elizabeth’s spirit filled joy at seeing this fifteen-year-old girl-cousin of hers who came to help her. The Magnificat that Mary poured out should be our standard of measure for this season and every season we are here on this glorious Earth.
The first line of Mary’s response is an out pouring of what it is to be full of grace. She says “My soul doth magnify the Lord”. What is she saying to us? This very young girl, living in a backwater village in the middle of nowhere in an era of Roman might and greatness? What does it mean to magnify the Lord?
First we have to know the mind and heart of the Lord. What is it that God is? God is love. Nothing in-between, nothing can alter that, nothing can change his mind, nothing can lead him away from love. He is love. Pure, simple, glorious love. So, to magnify him we need to love. Like he loves, unconditionally and with all our being.
Let’s go a bit farther with this magnify thing. A magnifying glass is clear, it is polished and clean. A pristine view of what is on the other side of it when looking through it. It is also a means of getting a deeper look into what it is held up to, a look at the smallest parts. Think of the lenses in the telescopes, the microscopes too, that allow us to see things we never could with our own eyes. So to magnify the Lord means to open up the view of the Lord, to get a deeper look into his heart of love. To be his window so to speak, his screen for the world to see his heart of love open to them.
God made us to love each other. It is truly what makes this Big Blue Marble turn, what it is that brings out God to the world. It’s love that we respond to when we help others, give to others, stand with others—be a very human human being to others. It is love that brings tears to our eyes when we see love in other people’s hearts flowing out to this world in such desperate need of love. It is love that prompts a broken-hearted father to ask for “something better to inspire us to be better” at the brutal killing of his six-year-old daughter eleven days before Christmas. It is love that made us cry for those precious children snatched away so callously by evil that day. It is love that whispers to us that it was Satan himself who strolled through that quiet school that day. It is love that tells us this is what an absence of love looks like. It is love himself that shows us the small glowing coal of hope that is still ready to flare into flame at such a horror.
When Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord”, she was expressing the love God put into her heart from the moment she was conceived. He did not let any even tiny hint of sin touch her soul. She was the clearest, most pristine magnifying glass for his love to seen. She did not categorize her love, she didn’t dam up the flow over anything,—even when she stood at the foot of the cross where her son was dying. She let it flow like a river from her heart, a river fed from God’s heart that never runs dry.
We too can be a magnifying glass for God’s love. It shines from us when we love completely. When we give it to all who pass our paths in this life. It comes into its own when we give it unconditionally, not thinking of cost, or what we get out of it, or do I look OK doing this act of love? Or will anyone notice I did this nice loving thing?
And that second line of the Magnificat “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” is her pure joy at this wondrous thing God had done. We too have wondrous things God does for us, everyday. It is in this season of Christmas with its focus on giving that we get just a glimmer of some of those wondrous gifts from God.
In my little house, in my small life I attempt to notice those small but incredible things God does for me every day. Always, the love my dogs give me, that wondrous, unconditional love they bless me with is my starting point. And I do my very best to say thank you at the moment I notice them. A quick “Thanks Lord’ is all I can do sometimes, but God loves it! To him, it is the best present he could ever get.
So, what was Mary thinkin’? She was, as always and forever she is, thinking of God. She is our celebrity to follow; she is our mentor to learn from; she is our mother who is always listening to us. Mary is what we would be without Adam and Eve’s sin.
In this Christmas season, seemingly darkened and ruined for us, remember Our Holy Mother. See her on that night in the stable where she gave us our Hope; see her as she and Joseph bring the child to the Temple and hear the words of Simeon tell of sorrows and swords in her heart and of the Light for all Nations they bring; see her on that race to Egypt with Joseph to protect her precious boy; see her and Joseph frantically looking for the teenage Christ-child lost for three days; see her at the foot of the cross as she watches the promised Messiah pour out all of himself for everyone; see her in the upper room with her heart bursting with joy once again to see her boy risen and glorious. Mary is the best of us, she is, as once was said “Mankind’s single boast”. Mary is what we all can be when we allow ourselves to be God’s magnifying glass.
May Mary’s baby shine His light in your heart this Christmas and may your magnifying glass show His love shining out to all of us!!
Merry and Blessed Christmas!!