I carry the current issue of Magnificat with me, everywhere I go.
Each day, this monthly magazine offers beautiful morning and evening prayers drawn from the Liturgy of the Hours, the daily readings for Mass, meditations and spiritual writings, and essays on the lives of the saints. It’s full of God’s Word.
As a subscriber, I can read it online or on my smartphone. But I carry it with me because I like reading from the printed page, marking a quote, making a note. And I’m not risking a ticket, if I happen to be reading while stopped in traffic or at a red light.
This past Sunday, at the end of 3 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle National Shrine, the Hispanic woman sitting at the end of my pew turned to me and said, “I love you!” She embraced me in a hug, gave me a kiss, and I did the same to her. I’m learning hugs and kisses are the Hispanic culture’s way of greeting one another and saying goodbye, here in the Rio Grande Valley.
The moment reminded me of Saturday’s “Meditation of the Day” in Magnificat, shared on the Memorial to St. Francis of Assisi, October 4th. Pope Francis writes:
The young Francis abandoned riches and comfort to become a poor man among the poor. He understood true joy and riches do not come from the possession of material things, but are to be found in following Christ and serving others…. We all need to look upon one another with the loving eyes of Christ, and learn to embrace those in need, to show our closeness, affection and love.
But then, what the woman did next surprised me.
“I really like your book,” she said. “May I have it?”
I looked down at the Magnificat I tenderly held. My daughter, Lauren, brought it from Ohio, just a few days before, when she surprised me with a visit to McAllen, TX.
“But it’s in English,” I said, thinking that might possibly dissuade her from wanting it.
“That’s ok,” she exclaimed. “I can read English!”
How could I hold on to it? I had the means to get another. She might not have the means to get one. And Fr. Herb’s homilies this weekend were all about letting go!
“The great Christian paradox is we have to let go to have,” says Fr. Herb, referencing The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. “It is in letting go, we find peace. ‘It is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we receive eternal life.’ In letting go is when we really have. And we are doing God’s will.”
So I gave her my beloved copy of Magnificat, as the Lord continues to Make Me A Channel of His Peace….