Mary said, “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.” Luke 1:51
I read this text early this morning, and decided it would be good for me today to walk through my day, and anticipate and seek out the strength of the Lord. In other words, pay attention to God’s work in the world I encounter, and then reflect on it later in the day.
Using St. Ignatius’ Prayer of Examen, I recounted God’s presence today in a listening ear who allowed me to be me – expressing my hopes and dreams, and my fears and failures. God showed up in two young hearts in love – preparing for a life together and sharing that with me. I encountered God in colleagues who shared their daily struggles and joys. And God’s love came in the form of a furry grand-puppy who exudes God’s unconditional love – well not entirely…. treats are always involved. And God brought an old friend back into our life, and connected me with each of my kids today.
So, that’s all nice and “routine,” but what about the “strength of God’s arm?” and the “scattering of the proud?” I mean, where’s this majestic God who brings the proud down a few notches, so the lowly can rise? The Messiah, the Savior of the world whom Mary, soon to be the mother of God, proclaimed has finally come!
I checked CNN to see if perhaps during my routine day, all had been righted in the world; that indeed the lowly, the outcast, the immigrant, the refugee, the hungry, the poor, the captive, the marginalized have finally all been elevated and rescued, and the rulers of the world who want to make their own rules that benefit them and them only, have finally been scattered.
Well, it didn’t happen that way today. So I went back to the text, looking for signs and answers. And I realized something else; perhaps it’s me. I’m the proud, the one who needs to be brought down and my thoughts scattered. And when I examined my day once again, I realized that indeed, today was just such a day. It’s like God took God’s strong arm and swiped across my desk and my daily schedule, sending my agenda flying, and instead, provided moments of sweet intimacy – God tended instead, to the matters of my heart. God laughed with me, cried with me, led me to ponder God’s word, and drew me into prayer, and God used a routine day and those whom I encounter to bring me near to God. In God’s mighty love, God re-aligned my thoughts, my prayers, and shared my fears and struggles. God lent me God’s yoke.
And so on this day, I humbly sing with Mary,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”