Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A "Magnificat" Hat Trick! (September Too!)

By now the exclusive, elite, and small group of people who actually read this blog are familiar with the wonderful Magnificat monthly devotional magazine. I am very grateful that I have been associated with various Magnificat publications for some years now. The monthly devotional provides a simple morning and evening prayer for each day (in the form of the Liturgy of the Hours, but with different texts). It also has the readings and prayers for each day's Mass, a daily reflection, and other articles related to the liturgical season. There are also beautiful color reproductions of sacred art, accompanied by commentary. The print edition has a very wide circulation, and the monthly is also available now online and through its own iPhone application.

Magnificat also publishes particular volumes for certain special liturgical years (in a few weeks, The Year of Faith will be available--including a contribution from me). It has also published numerous volumes of New Testament reflections, as well as other books and materials. I want to encourage people to visit the website and take advantage of these excellent resources (https://www.magnificat.net/english/index.asp#). I'm not saying this because the reflection from last Monday was the third month in a row that they have featured my writings. I really think these publications are a great way for lay people (especially busy lay people) to cultivate a prayer life that follows the spirit of the Church's liturgy. If you really want to start praying and giving greater attention to Sacred Scripture, Magnificat is rich, but also not overwhelming. It is beautiful, simple to use, and easy to carry.

Okay, so on September 10 they featured a selection from my book as the daily reflection. In case you missed it, here is the excerpt:

I pray that God may sustain hope in my heart. In faith and hope I know that it is possible, that God’s grace can make something out of my nothingness, and therefore I must not—I will not—be discouraged.
My own trials have opened my eyes, my ears, and my heart to something I never noticed in my youth. Maybe it is because I have finally started listening to people. The fact is that so many people are struggling with suffering, most of them more than me.
Indeed, suffering is deeper than the immediate external struggles that engage most of us. Everyone has something missing in their life, something that has disappointed them, something that does not measure up to a once-cherished hope, something that inhibits their freedom, some burden that tires them, some hunger that is never satisfied.
People usually accommodate themselves to reduced expectations about life, especially as they get older. How else could one get through the day? Sometimes, however, one can still catch an echo of a cry of pain, that deep and mysterious pain at the heart of every human life. Life is, in some measure, always something that has to be endured.
Why is this? We suffer because of sin: original sin, our own personal sins, and the sins of the world. We suffer in Christ, who is God’s love made personal and particular for each one of us. Jesus is God drawn close to our wounded humanity, so close that He takes it upon Himself—not only in some “general” way, but in a way that encompasses each one of us.
Jesus is the intimate companion of each and every human person, even those who do not know Him. He knows each one of us; He unites Himself (He—God the Eternal Son of the Father) to my humanity and to your humanity; He lives in us and suffers in us and through us.
He knows “who I am” and who He wills me to be. He knows the secret of why I was created. He knows my sins. He knows how to heal me of them, how to draw me to Himself, how to make me the “adopted son” that I am meant to be in Him for all eternity.