Feast of the Magnificat
and of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Her cousin Elizabeth
Magnificat: A Latin word, the first word of the hymn of thanksgiving sung by the Most Blessed Virgin Mary during Her visit to Her cousin Elizabeth. The entire narrative of Her Visitation is found in the Gospel according to Saint Luke 1:39-56. This is the Canticle of Mary:
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And My spirit hath rejoiced in God, My Saviour.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call Me blessed.
Because He who is mighty hath done great things to Me; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him.
He hath shown might with His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their throne, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy,
As He promised our Fathers: Abraham and his posterity forever.
Let Us Live Our Magnificat
Father John Gregory of the Trinity, o.d.m.
Let us contemplate the second mystery of the Rosary: the Visitation of Mary to Her cousin, Saint Elizabeth. Elizabeth congratulates Mary for the immense privilege of being the Mother of God made man. At once the Blessed Virgin refers these praises to the Most High and intones the beautiful Magnificat canticle of thanksgiving to God, attributing to Him all these wonders which He has performed in Her.
My brothers and sisters, let us imitate our heavenly Mother, referring to Heaven all that is good in us; let us attribute everything to God. Let us fully live this mystery of the Magnificat; gratitude constitutes a part of our vocation. Our entire life should be a song of perpetual gratitude towards God, who has filled us with His most extraordinary favors.
All that God has given us should serve only for His divine glory. We cannot deny what God does for us. In all humility, we should recognize the talents, the gifts God has gratified us with; but we cannot attribute them to ourselves. Everything comes from God, out of pure goodness, freely. We were not even born yet when God was already thinking of the gifts He was to grant us. We certainly do not owe them to our merits.
It would be foolish to appropriate to ourselves what God has given us altogether freely, without any merit on our part. The Blessed Virgin says, He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold, henceforth all generations shall call Me blessed. Because He who is mighty hath done great things to Me, and holy is His Name. It is the Blessed Virgin’s humility that drew all Her privileges to Herself. The Fathers of the Church declare that the humility of the Blessed Virgin was the ladder by which God was able to come down even unto us.
We must use all the gifts of God with a great deal of respect, not wasting anything; that is the good way to receive others. Gratitude is lacking in many souls. They are ungrateful, thankless; they do not appreciate what God does for them.
Our greatest proof of gratitude is to wisely employ everything God has given us — that is, for His glory and the accomplishment of His holy Will. “My God, You have given me a healthy body: I put it at Your service to prove my love for You. You have given me intelligence: I will use it to serve You with all the strength of my soul. You have given me a heart: I will consume it to love You without bounds, undividedly. You have given me eyes: I will open them to my neighbor’s needs, in order to help him; I will read Your divine word in Holy Scripture to meditate on it and love it. I will use my tongue to proclaim Your praises, sing beautiful hymns and encourage my neighbor. I will use the hands You have given me to do what is good, to devote myself for my neighbor.”
Everything comes from God
Let us thank God for the grace of baptism; millions of pagans have not had that privilege of being born in a Christian country. Let us be thankful for the countless free graces God grants us each moment without our even being aware of them. Let us always have the Magnificat on our lips, or the Deo Gratias, like Saint Felix of Cantalice. People called him Brother Deo Gratias because he was always repeating these words. Let us be Brother Magnificat, Sister Magnificat by our perpetual thanksgiving, since everything is a grace of God, everything comes from Him. Gratitude is one of the four ends of prayer, as taught in the catechism: “Prayer is an elevation of our mind to God: to adore Him, to thank Him for His benefits, to implore His forgiveness, or to ask Him for the graces we need for our soul and our body.”
Let us thank God every day for giving us yet more time to serve Him. Each day, each moment of our life is such a precious gift of God; let us not waste it. Have we made good use of this day for God, for His greater glory, for our sanctification? Each day of our life is a grace from which we should profit to the maximum, for time passes and never returns. Everything we have done today to please God is coin for eternity. Our Lord tells us, Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves break in and steal, treasures for eternity. Let us not waste a minute while we still have time; for in His goodness, God gives us this time to permit us to enrich ourselves for eternity.
Let us thank the Sacred Heart for all the love He shows us day after day. It is He who gives all the good things on earth, joys that are a sample of heaven. We must receive these joys with simplicity and gratitude, just as we should lovingly accept the cross, suffering, pain, contradiction. Life is not only suffering; God also sends us joys, spiritual or human ones, which are innocent. Let us welcome them with simplicity, love and gratitude; let us use them to raise ourselves to God.
All the beauties of the earth are only a sample of the infinite Beauty of God; they should spur us forward. Let us not halt on the way by making our happiness consist in earthly things. Let us rise up unceasingly. All creatures should be a means for us to rise up to God, not obstacles on our road to heaven.
God uses the people around us, the circumstances of our life to make us rise up to Him. They are like steps in a stairway. To reach the top, you have to climb them one by one. Let us look at everything with views of faith. Someone gets on our nerves: it is like a defective, damaged step, but you must still use it to reach the next one. Let us not be angry with people because they are imperfect; let us regard them as means placed at our disposal by Providence to reach the summit, which is God Himself. Thus everything changes and becomes easy. By looking at the circumstances of our life from the divine viewpoint, we will not be able to do otherwise than thank God unceasingly, for we shall understand that, pleasant or unpleasant, everything leads us to the same goal, which is God.
If our life is not a perpetual song of thanks towards our God who is so good, it is because we do not know how to appreciate His gifts at their true value. Saint Paul says, The sensual man does not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God… Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, that we may know the things that have been given us by God. The sensual man is the man who behaves only according to the flesh: “I like this, I do not like that.” We must rise above the flesh, we must enter the realm of faith, of the supernatural life. God invites us to leave the earthly and sensual life in order to make us participants of His divine life.
Thank You, my God!
Thank You, my God, for all Your graces, thank You for everything You have done for us. We have often skirted precipices, we were in danger of losing You eternally, and You held us back.
Thank You, my God; thank You, dear Master; thank You, dear Benefactor, great Benefactor of our entire life. Thank You for all Your benefits. Thank You for giving Yourself to us in the Eucharist; thank You for keeping us alive; thank You for keeping us all in Your house. Thank You for having facilitated the religious life for us by giving us everything we need to withdraw from the world and live close to You in prayer and recollection. So many people in the world have very little time to spend with You. We are truly privileged.
Thank You for having preserved our freedom to serve You despite all the snares that threaten us. We thank You for this, my God; we want to use this freedom to serve You with still greater care and diligence.
Thank You for all these countless, multiple and infinite graces which You have been giving us for the many years we have been here on these grounds. Grant us the grace to be so grateful for Your goodness that our life may be wholly transformed by it. Give us the grace to appreciate Your divine gifts more and more so as not to waste them. We want to derive maximum profit from all these graces in order to grow in Your love.
Thank You, my God, for all Your blessings. We will be thanking You eternally for them. Thank You for all Your graces granted to each one of us in particular and to all the Community. Thank You for Your miraculous protection, for Your continual assistance, for all the lights You give us, for all these Communions we have had the joy of receiving, for all these holy Masses we can celebrate. Thank You, my God, a thousand thanks! We humbly ask You to continue Your favor towards us despite our unworthiness. Amen.
Extracts from the brochure: Let Us Live our Magnificat, texts drawn from conferences by Father John Gregory, at the Monastery of the Magnificat of the Mother of God, Mont-Tremblant Quebec.
This brochure is available at Editions Magnificat, article number 2304