Living the Magnificat

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity forever.”

Luke 1:46-55

When I did my Marian Consecration a few years ago, it was suggested to wear some physical reminder of my consecration to Our Lady. So I got a ring that says “fiat mihi” on the outside (the first words of her fiat, “Be it done to me according to your word”). The inside is engraved with the words, “magnify Him.”

It was a reminder to myself to entrust all my work to the hands of the Blessed Mother. To magnify Him through my vocation as a daughter, sister, artist, and whatever else God called me to do—just as she magnified Him in all He called her to do.

That, at least, was the original inspiration for this blog.

But when I reminded myself a week ago that this blog was (over)due, that as the editor, I should be extra conscientious about getting things in on time, and that as a writer, I shouldn’t struggle this much to squeeze out a measly 1,000 words, I saw myself holding an empty cup. “You can’t pour out of an empty cup.” I’m sure we’ve all heard that before.

I tried anyway. Except, with nothing left to pour, I kept shaking the overturned cup, trying to squeeze out something, anything. There wasn’t even a single drop left.

I’d poured out everything I had into various projects, various ministries, various friendships. In essence, there’s nothing wrong with that. There are seasons for pouring out. God gives us gifts so that we may use them for His glory, for our sanctification, and for the salvation of others.

But there are also seasons for being filled. Those seasons require not that we merely dip our fingers into the water for a drink, but that we approach the Fountain of Living Water, immerse ourselves in Him, and allow Him to quench our thirst. We emerge from this water still drenched in His light, still surrounded with His love, so that the radiance of Our Lord shines out through us as through a prism.

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, O God.”

Psalm 42:1

I’ve forgotten how to rest. Not just to pause in the middle of my day, but to really rest. To shut down the constant communication, to walk away from the continual buzz of activity, and to simply be with my Beloved. There’s so much to do before Lent starts. So many people who need my attention, and others who just want it.

So much that can and will continue just fine if I step away, take a day or a week, and simply rest in Him.

I’m made to glorify the Lord, to do His will in the measure that He wills it be done, not to strive according to my own ability. As Citlalin recently reminded us in her blog Healing From the Wound of Perfectionism, His grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in weakness.

My life isn’t about me. It’s about Him.

In Alyssa’s blog Talking Through My Exhaustion, she writes, “We know women who are strong, successful, hardworking, and caregiving but it’s hard to find a woman who is relaxed.” So where do we find rest?

The solution often isn’t easy. In this pit of exhaustion, I’ve been wondering about Our Lady’s physical exhaustion during the Flight to Egypt. As the joy of the newborn Christ faded, in the wake of that awe of being visited by shepherds and angels and the Magi, St. Joseph woke her in the middle of the night. And they fled, leaving behind the comfort and security of their home.

In the musical I’m writing, Mary once again sings the Magnificat during this sorrow.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

I will glorify the Lord, even in this. I will magnify the Lord, when darkness is all around me, when just lifting my gaze to seek His will feels so far beyond my strength. I will be faithful to Him. I will not let Him go.

If you’ve seen the finale for Season 3 of The Chosen, some of this emotion might feel particularly fresh for you. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it enough. On my way home from watching those final episodes for the first time, I talked with Jesus about the things I share in common with Simon Peter as he’s portrayed in the show. His stubborn, stubborn faith. His aching, broken, bewildered heart as he’s reeling from his wife’s miscarriage. The knowledge that, “Lord, you could have prevented this.” Combined with, “I know who You are. I don’t believe it; I know it.”

Spoiler alert: Simon’s confrontation grappling with these two seemingly conflicting ideas coincides with Jesus walking on water and Simon stepping out in faith. Still angry. Still broken. Still hurting beyond any pain I can imagine, He steps out of the boat.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

Our Lord doesn’t often come to us with an easy, miraculous fix. He doesn’t give us words meant only to soothe us for the present moment. No. He heals us, even when healing hurts. He enters into the depths of those uncomfortable places, and He speaks in ways that often challenge and confront our sinfulness. He asks us to come, just come, broken, tired, struggling under the weight of whatever burdens we’re carrying. He wants us to bring that all to Him.

Our Lady was doing that continually on the way to Calvary. Her heart, laden with so many sorrows to see her Son condemned, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crucified—her Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart remained totally united with His. We see in her a model of perfect discipleship, faithful companionship, the epitome of motherly love, the image of all womanhood.

Every time I see an image of the pieta—Our Lady holding Our Lord before His body is laid in the tomb—I can’t help but pause. In every depiction, her sorrow is so completely blended with her love, and the totality of both consumes her. In Our Lord, bloodied and crucified, we see the bloody and practical effects of our sin. Our Lady reveals the interior disposition caused by our own sinfulness.

In my musical, Mary returns to the Magnificat here also. From the center of the Paschal Mystery, the very heart of our redemption, Our Lady cradles her Son, points us to her Son, and magnifies the glory of her Son.

Our Lady models that healing begins by first facing our sorrow. We have to take an honest look at our wounds. To acknowledge where and how we need His healing and invite our Wounded Healer into those places. To let Him show us how to be wounded healers ourselves, letting His glory shine in and through us. Even while we’re still broken. Even while we’re still in the midst of that long process of healing. The key is to remain open to letting Him work in and through us.

Everything begins with and flows out of a commitment to rest. Our Lady “kept these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Unless we form and maintain our interior life, there’s no room for Him to enter in, no place for His radiance to take root and shine out from.

At the time this blog runs, I’ll be taking some time out for an at-home retreat. I still have some (mostly fun) meetings. But I’ll be stepping away from social media to spend some concentrated time just praying, reading, and writing. I’m recommitting to resting and pondering in the midst of my daily life.

O magnify the Lord with me.”

Psalm 34:3

Rest in Him. Ponder His great works. Come, let us magnify the Lord.

About Author

Caitlyn Pszonka serves as our Editor. She is first and foremost a beloved daughter of God and uses her gifts as a co-creator for love of Him and His Body, the Church. With degrees in Creative Writing and Theology, she loves to get at deeper truths through telling stories in various forms, including novels, poems, plays, and songs. Caitlyn shares her visual art, in addition to reflections on diving ever deeper in love with God, at Heart to Sacred Heart.

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