Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare our hearts to more fully receive Christ in our lives and remember both the promises made by God to His People regarding a Savior and the days leading to his birth. In yesterday’s daily readings, we read both about Hannah bringing Samuel to the temple to present him to the Lord and the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth found in the Gospel of Luke. The Psalm ties them together and comes from 1 Samuel as well.
The Magnificat is a beautiful section of Scripture and a way in which we see Mary proclaiming that the Savior will soon come. She now carries Jesus in her womb and in the presence of her cousin can not help but to ‘magnify’ God through her life.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
While this song of Mary ties together the promises of old with what is to come, it can also serve as a reminder that we should be proclaiming God’s greatness in our lives, both in words and deeds. The challenge can be in how we do this.
When we devote all our thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, we proclaim God’s greatness. Our observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that we have God’s power and greatness always at heart. Our spirit rejoices in God our savior and delights in the mere recollection of our creator who gives us hope for eternal salvation.
Saint Bede the Venerable
At times I am floored by how those who came before us can so succinctly say what we need to hear, yet their words may go hidden from us.
Finding this quote and seeing Saint Bede on my son’s reading list for Omnibus II this year has me wanting to become more familiar with him and his writings. It is a reminder that formation of faith is not relegated to childhood and with the culmination occurring at Confirmation. Rather, we must all continue to learn and grow until the day we are called home to God.
Praise (our words) and Service (our actions)….that is how we can proclaim God’s greatness. When we do this, how can we not rejoice in Him?
As a mom who often feels like she is in the trenches, or maybe a better comparison would be a wheel, this might seem like a lofty goal that I have little hope of achieving.
I’ll admit that the service component is not difficult to see in my life. As a parent, there are small and big acts of service every single day within the family. As a member of a church community, there are acts of service through the different groups in which I actively participate (e.g. the Ladies Group which has service as one of the three pronged components for each monthly meeting.)
Where I, and quite likely many others, struggle is in the praise department.
It is easy to sing God’s praising IN church during Mass or even when we have gathered with friends who share our beliefs. Yet, to just praise God in other areas of our life can seem foreign. It can even be a little scary as the modern (western) world seems to have fostered a culture of acceptance for many, but yet still allows for the Christian to be belittled or persecuted.
In the work place and public spaces, belief in God has been put into the category of things to not discuss unless you want to make yourself a target. Depending upon where you are, becoming a target can be more than just finding yourself ridiculed for your ‘silly beliefs.’ Christian martyrdom has never gone away and I suspect it will be present until the Second Coming of Christ.
While I never felt that I had to separate or justify my Christian beliefs when studying for an advance degree in science, I have heard from many that it is extremely challenging to be taken seriously as a scientist when it is common knowledge you are a Christian. Maybe if I had remained in The irony I see in this is that so many great scientists have been Christians. Mendel, considered one of the first geneticists, was a monk and most definitely had a solid faith in God!
As Advent quickly comes to a close (today is after all Christmas Eve Eve!), we should be finding ways to not only prepare our hearts for Christmas Day but finding how we can fully embrace both the words of the Magnificat and Mary’s enthusiastic response to God’s call in her life.
This post is linked up to the 40 Days of Seeking Him meme.
Every week we will link up and share what we are doing, learning or how we celebrate the birth of our Lord. You are more than welcome to link up your posts on the topic of Advent and growing closer to Christ.
How do you magnify God in your life?