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Through the Magnifying Glass

If we’re not careful, we can spend much of our lives sleepwalking.

Rich HarterGood News All the Way

A blog by Rich Harter
Director of Evangelization
Archdiocese of Milwaukee


During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. (Luke 1:39-56)

If we’re not careful, we can spend much of our lives sleepwalking. We do what we do, day after day, and pretty soon we are just going through the motions. We become sleepwalkers, numb to the good news that we are surrounded by the infinite love, mercy, mystery, and presence of God. The rigors and routines of life slowly and steadily lull us into a drowsiness of spirit. We look but we do not see. 

But there are those intermittent times when we are startled awake. Occasions of ecstatic joy and gripping sadness jolt us into looking at our lives as if through a magnifying glass. Reality is enlarged. We see clearer, feel deeper, and live fuller. The magnificence of life is on full display down to its finest detail. With hearts magnified, we awaken to the power and presence of God in our midst!  

Elizabeth and Mary possess this magnified vision in spades, clearly seeing God at work in their lives. Even before hearing the news, Elizabeth recognizes that God has acted definitively in Mary’s life, making her most blessed among women and the bearer of her blessed Lord. Just like the baby in her womb, Elizabeth can feel that God is moving!

Mary too magnifies the great things God is doing. She keenly sees that God’s saving plan is being accomplished through her. Her spirit can’t help but rejoice as she recognizes that God is doing in her life what God has done from age to age: the lowly are lifted, the hungry are filled, and the servants receive mercy. Mary sees and believes that, as in the days of Abraham, God is at work in her life.

Elizabeth and Mary teach us the good news that God is working powerfully in our lives. We just need to stay wake and magnify our awareness! Our God is doing great things for us, and holy is his name!   

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