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Magnificat is a spiritual guide to help you develop your prayer life, grow in your spiritual life, find a way to a more profound love for Christ, and participate in the holy Mass with greater fervor.
Magnificat is a monthly publication designed for daily use, to encourage both liturgical and personal prayer. It can be used to follow daily Mass and can also be read at home or wherever you find yourself for personal or family prayer.
Every day, in a convenient, pocket-sized format, Magnificat offers beautiful prayers for both morning and evening drawn from the treasures of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official texts of daily Mass, meditations written by spiritual giants of the Church and more contemporary authors, essays on the lives of the saints of today and yesterday, and articles giving valuable spiritual insight into masterpieces of sacred art.
Human Love Elevated to the Divine
by Pierre-Marie Dumont
Boy and Angel (1918–1919)
by Abbott Handerson Thayer (1848–1921)
The editorial of the month
by Father Sebastian White, o.p.
As I get older I find that I am becoming more nostalgic, or at least more aware of the many and simple features of my childhood that I took for granted: I mean the family bonds, friendships, and experiences of my small-town upbringing, and the qualities that my parents did their best to inculcate in me and my sister, Emily, who now attempts the same with her two sons, Brady and Jackson. Having turned forty this year, I find that people and memories and blessings I thought little of through my college years and my twenties—a period not generally known to be the height of one’s sensitivity to the subtler side of life—come more readily to mind. One example is the relationship my family had with an elderly Lebanese couple in our hometown named George and Marie.
The glory of Lebanon shall come to you (Is 60:13)
By the time I knew them, George had retired from a long career in the United States Postal Service. Though he had grown up here in the States, George had returned to the old country as a young man on a mission: to meet and marry a nice Lebanese woman. The Lebanese tend to be tight-knit. They love their culture and their fellow Lebanese with a special love. I don’t know all the details of how they met—I imagine their families knew each other—but George and Marie married and then returned to America to begin life together. Interestingly, one of Marie’s brothers back in Lebanon is a priest of the Maronite rite.
My parents took Emily and me to visit George and Marie regularly. Part of it, I think, was my parents’ general concern to teach us to value relationships with older people (especially our grandparents). I confess that as a teenager I was not always enthusiastic about having to tag along on visits to people I principally thought of as my parents’ friends, so I am grateful for the at-times special degree of parental resolve that ensured I did. George and Marie were not blessed with children of their own, so I think my parents also sensed that they enjoyed playing host to two young’uns. At bottom, however, Mom and Dad sincerely enjoyed their company, and they wanted Emily and me to get to know those two wonderful people.
What I remember most about George and Marie is their extraordinary culinary largesse. I cannot recall a single visit when they did not serve us something to eat. And it’s not, to be clear, as though we had a habit of dropping by “coincidentally” at mealtimes: that would indeed be more than a little suspicious and uncouth! (“Oh, sorry, we don’t want to interrupt your delicious Lebanese dinner… Well, if you insist…I guess we could stay for a bit.”) In reality, no matter what the agreed upon hour for our get-together, Marie was sure to have prepared something for us to eat. If, due to some sense of propriety, we showed any restraint in our consumption, we were quick to hear an insistent, “Eat, eat! You can have more than that!” from Marie in her thickly accented English.
Honestly, I think we were just a little embarrassed by the attention. Even though we have Lebanese family ourselves (my dad’s mother, our “Sittoo,” is one hundred percent Lebanese), George and Marie were not family, so we were naturally more reserved in their company. I recall that at one point my father delicately tried to hint that it really was not necessary to go to the trouble of supplying us with so many comestibles—which often enough was a spread of Middle Eastern delicacies: kibbe, meat pies, spinach pies, and the like. Any effort to temper their zeal was unavailing, however. So eventually we learned: This is just how they are. They want to host us in this way, and it is our part to receive it graciously. In the end we resolved to visit George and Marie only on an empty stomach.
A well of living water, streams flowing from Lebanon (Sg 4:15)
The main reason I share this story is that it has lately emerged from the archive of my memory as a small taste of our Lord’s relentless generosity. He is a giver by nature. That’s his “love language,” if you will. Scripture is chock-full of affirmations of this. One in particular seems apt: You water the mountains from your chambers; from the fruit of your labor the earth abounds. You make the grass grow for the cattle and plants for people’s work to bring forth food from the earth, wine to gladden their hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread to sustain the human heart. The trees of the Lord drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, which you planted. There the birds build their nests (Ps 104:13-17).
George (now in his 90s) and Marie have since returned to Lebanon, and we occasionally get an update through some other friends. They are, to my mind, like the well-nourished cedars of Lebanon who, for a time, allowed us to nest there, finding shade in their friendship. I cannot help but think of another Scriptural image: The just shall flourish like the palm tree, shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit even in old age, they will stay fresh and green (Ps 92:13-15).
This month, as the leaves begin to fall and as we all grow four weeks older, may our hearts be gladdened and our faces shine from the goodness of our Lord, whose love endures forever.(Read More)