So marvelous and rich in meaning are the words of the Magnificat that we cannot possibly glide over them. We must pause to relish their sweetness and study the lessons of this wonderful synthesis of prayer, of thanksgiving and of practical virtue.
1. My Soul Magnifies The Lord.
This is the aim of man: to praise and magnify the Lord. A sweet obligation indeed, but nevertheless an obligation. God has created all for His glory, but proper glory can be given to Him on earth only by man. Glory is knowledge followed by praise. We cannot praise unless we know.
And since the rest of creation has no knowledge, we are commissioned by them, so to say, to perform this duty that we may see and learn God in them and that in their name we may praise Him. This is, then, our task, to gather those notes of bounty, wisdom, power, beauty and love which God has deposited in creatures and with them to shape a hymn of gratitude that we must sing to the praise of God. Magnificent and sublime duty indeed. How do you fulfill it? Do you know how to praise God? Do you strive to know Him the better in order the better to love Him? whenever you do not do so, you fail in your duty: you are a false note, out of tune in this symphony of praise. You are unable to interpret the canticle which the whole of creation has entrusted to you. It is your fault and your shame. Look at Mary. The first words She utters are intended to turn the praises showered on Her by St. Elizabeth to God. To Him only is glory. A fine beginning for Her canticle.
Moreover, see how Mary praises the Lord with the whole of Her soul and heart. We sometimes speak, but only with our tongue, not with the whole of our being. When we sin, be it only venially, we render God smaller within us: just the opposite of magnifying God. And whenever we commit a mortal sin we make Him not only smaller but cause Him to disappear entirely from our souls.
All the saints with their works magnified God. They enhanced and magnified God within themselves with their sanctity. Not always, of course, since they also had their faults and imperfections. Mary is the only one that never for a single moment ceased magnifying and enhancing God's presence, in Her most pure soul. Mary says "My soul magnifies", in the present tense; not in the past nor the future but now and always. One would say that this was Her perpetual preoccupation, Her principal job as though She had no other.
Meditate on this example and think how you yourself compare. Oh, if we would always magnify and increase God's presence within us. If, at least, we would never make Him smaller within us! How great would our sanctity be! We are small and worthless but with the little we have and in the little way we can, let us in imitation of Mary, resolve to praise and magnify the Lord.
[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]