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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Love My Magnificat

The world is going to hell in a handcart...or maybe, in today's technological age when things are bigger and faster, a jumbo jet. It's more and more evident that the "primrose path of dalliance" (aka, the road to perdition) is wide and "many there are who find it." The narrow path, on the other hand, is less well travelled like the way of the Cross. It's rocky and not very welcoming for those looking for an easy road. Well, what else is new? Such has been the story since the fall of Adam and Eve, the murder of Abel, the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the sad tales of sin and horror since then that find men seeking forbidden pleasures and spurning sacrifice.

But it's imporant to remember that the bad news is only part of the story. Despite all the evil in the world there is goodness...and truth and beauty. And often that reminder comes to me from the daily reading in my Magnificat. On Monday when I read the Meditation for the Day I knew I had to share its inspiring and hopeful message written by Dom Anscar Vonier, O.S.B. (+ 1906) who was abbot of Buckfast Abbey in Devon England. Here's what the Abbot wrote that gives me such hope and such joy at being a Catholic:

 "Our whole Christian outlook, should be an outlook of goodness, an outlook of sanctity. We should think first and foremost of sanctity and the power of sanctity, which is the power of Christ. We are not meant to be made gloomy by the multiplicity of sin. We know that all sin has been destroyed by Christ when, as Saint Peter tells us, he destroyed it by his own death. Sacntity is the natural atmosphere of Christians; it is their daily life. They are born into sanctity when they are baptized; they are kept in sanctity through the manifold graces of the sacraments and through the daily cleansing of Holy Mass, surrounded on all sides by the angels who illumine their minds and strengthn their will. The ordinary state of Christians is a state of sanctity. If you were given a vision of the Catholic people no doubt you might see many souls for the moment in a state of mortal sin; but if you saw the Christian people in their millions, what a spectacle it would be! The amount of grace that goes up to heaven; the purity of their lives; their patience; how near to God they are; how the power of Christ pours into them like a mighty stream which never ceases to flow; how even the sinner is constantly being brought into the waters of grace again; if there is a fall, at once that fall is made good by the grace of repentance; how when a believing Catholic falls we have the one Sacrifice for sin; the angels go and whisper to him words of repentance and contrition, and he rises as quickly as he fell. Oh, if we could but see that great spectacle!... 
"Begin with goodness, with sanctity, with the thought of God, and that you are the children of God. Begin with grace, not with sin and apostasy and infidelity; these things need not enter into your lives; you know that they exist, but they need not affect you. What should affect you is the power of Christ, the power of sanctity."
The benefits of Magnificat don't end with the daily Mass readings and the meditations. One of the sections I especially appreciate is the commentary on a masterpiece of religious art. The cover is always lovely and there's a brief description, but there is also always a reproduction in the back with a second picture focusing on a detail in the work.

This month's masterpiece is The Dream of Saint Joseph by Rembrandt, my favorite painter. Studying these magnificent works reminds me of how God uses the true, the good, and the beautiful to touch and win hearts and also to instruct. Joseph guards Mary and the baby so tenderly and she, in turn, cuddles the little baby Jesus wrapping him in her cloak to protect him from the cold. What a tender picture of the Holy Family. The angel touches Joseph lightly alerting him to the necessity to take Mary and the baby and flee from Herod. Joseph needs only a gentle prod not a swift kick like so many of us do.

The Magnificat publishers write that "Scripture tells us that Joseph not only listened to the angel's message, but he acted on what he heard. He is our model as we strive to listen to God's Word and to translate the divine Word into action in our daily lives." It's a message we all need to remember -- that prayer leads to action. Magnificat focuses us on the prayer but reminds us that more is necessary -- to hurry and rise like St. Joseph to follow the instructions of the Lord.


Anonymous said...

You didn't mention that Magnificat can be viewed online;

...And that they have a Magnifikids for children to help them with prayer and Mass

....And that Magnificat is a wonderful gift for anyone interested in praying daily;

....And that their website is:

Magnificat is like having your daily newspaper right at your door every day. Except better.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Sounds like you are as enthusiastic as I am. LOL! I actually did hotlink to Magnificat's website, but for those who missed it your extra info is much appreciated. I've given Magnifikids to some of my grandchildren and it's a wonderful resource. They loved it!

Yunah said...

May I ask why you like Magnificat? I never knew about it. Obviously, since YOU like it, it must be an orthodox Catholic magazine?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

It's not a traditional magazine, Yunah. It's a prayer aid. It includes morning prayer, the daily Mass readings, and a meditation for the day, evening prayer and night prayer. It also includes a monthly article in the front and the art work article in the back.

Since my husband and I go to daily Mass it serves as our missal and I always use it at our weekly hour of adoration. It's a wonderful resource and I often tear out meditations and keep them or send them to others.