Below is Our Lady’s prayer (the Magnificat), that I refer to throughout this post. May Our Lady’s prayer give you the same clarity it gave to me.
Then Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He has looked with favor on the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful, as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Have you ever felt so discouraged that all you could ask God is “Why don’t you love me?” A feeling of discouragement so powerful, that you felt your faith in God’s goodness tested like never before? Well, if you answered yes, then I feel you sister. Lately this feeling of discouragement has seemed to be my specialty.
As periods of trial are not meant to be kept in the dark; I would like to share a revelation that was made to me while in this darkness. What I will share with you now is an experience I had about two weeks ago when in the midst of a particularly rough couple of days. I pray this is helpful for you…
It was the weekend of my birthday and I had to say no to good things. It sucked. Having to say no to something that I not only deeply desired, but that I knew was a good was very difficult. I kept asking the Lord, “Why dangle these beautiful things in front of me, if I can’t have them?” I was struggling with reconciling God’s love for me with the intense dissatisfaction I felt.
While in this funk of dissatisfaction, I picked up my bible and decided to do some reading. I began to read the visitation passage and continued onto the Magnificat. As I read, it was as if lightning had struck my heart. I was posed with the question, “does your soul magnify the Lord” and I answered honestly “no, it does not”. I had been so deep in my despair, that in actuality my soul magnified fear, anger, and mistrust. I broke down in tears.
In reading the Magnificat, I realized the Lord was asking me to magnify Him just like Our Lady did. To magnify the Him in my despair, to magnify Him in the midst of temptation, to magnify Him in my joy and most importantly to magnify Him when I don’t get what I want. This was a hard pill to swallow.
In the moment, I felt too weak to praise the Lord in my sadness. So I did the only thing I could do – I pleaded with Our Lady. I begged her to give me her faith, her heart, her everything. I knew this was the only way I’d be able to rise to the call. The antidote to discouragement is praying for Our Lady’s faith.
If you are in the midst of despair or just not seeing/feeling God’s love lately, I invite you to meditate on the Magnificat. Ask Our Lady to reveal to you if your soul is truly magnifying the Lord. If it isn’t, ask her to take you there. It’s important that we do these spiritual check in’s whenever we feel our confidence in God’s love shaken. If we don’t, we fall for the lie that God doesn’t desire our happiness.
If we want to love like Our Lady, we have to remember why she is blessed among women. She is blessed among women, not only because she is the mother of our Savior, but also because she believed that what was promised to her would be fulfilled. Believe that God desires joy, freedom and eternal happiness for you – even if you don’t feel it. It is this unwavering faith in things unseen that will make you just like Mary and give you the strength to make it through times of darkness.
I’m praying for you sisters. May Our Lady always keep you in her mantle.
Our Lady of the visitation, pray for us.