Frassati Reflection: Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon 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.

—Luke 1:46–49

Jacopo_Pontormo_040Mary sings her Magnificat at a time when her problems are not all neatly resolved. She is still waiting to see how God’s plan will play out, still wondering what surprises will come along the way through her pregnancy and motherhood of this very special Son. She has yet to face the long ride to Bethlehem, the Baby Jesus with a manger for a bed, the flight into Egypt to escape Herod, the sorrowful words at the Presentation, and losing and finding the child Jesus in the Temple. Many joys and sorrows await Mary, and though she doesn’t yet exactly what God has in store, the road to Calvary looms ahead for her.

But still, even in this moment of uncertainty, Mary gives thanks to God. She sings her hymn of praise before seeing the gift, because she trusts so deeply that God will provide. Even when her circumstances are less than ideal, she does not waver in her trust—she thanks God in anticipation of the great things He will do for her. I wish I could have the same unwavering trust in God, and I pray that Mary will teach me to sing her Magnificat, even when I’m still in the middle of the story, even when I’m not sure what will happen next. Moment by moment, we are asked to trust that God has a plan for us, that even the difficulties we experience are all part of that plan. God has written each of us into His story of salvation—we can trust wholeheartedly that He has great things in store for us.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and 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 for ever.

—Luke 1:50–55

Image: Pontormo, Visitation / PD-US

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