Magnification (December 11, 2012)

…Opening To…

Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon miraculous Elizabeth?
Her salutation Sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John Wakes in his mother’s body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery. (Thomas Merton)

…Listening In…

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God.” (Luke 1:46-50; context)

…Filling Up…

Mary’s song has been called “The Magnificat” for as long as anyone can remember. In the wonderful old translation of her song, the first half of which is quoted above, the opening line was rendered, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Magnification is such a great image for how we can show to others God’s presence in our lives. Magnification takes something difficult to see and makes it more visible. Of course, the microscopic nature of most magnification is where the metaphor breaks down.

But we can see evidence of this train of thought in the wonderful new translation that we have been using all month. It reads: “In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.” In the depths of who I am. What a powerful statement. Only by digging down to the very core of our beings can we begin to understand just what God has done for us, the true and ongoing reasons for our joy. I recall Psalm 42, which uses the image of water to explore God’s presence. “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts,” says the King James Version. Only at the deepest places within are we able to resonate with the depths of God.

In her song, Mary understands just how deeply immersed in this creation God is. She knows that the core of her being calls out to the core of God’s. And all of God’s being calls out to all of creation. After her encounter with the angel and her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary is able to verbalize what the depth of this calling means to her. She responds by magnifying the Lord with the lens of her own soul. She reaches spiritual depths that are akin to the physical depths, which we can view only through a microscope. And at these depths, she hears the deep calling.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you have looked with favor on your servant. Help me to look upon others with the love you have for me and help me magnify you in their lives. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, with a song in my heart about the way you are reshaping this world in the image of your kingdom.

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