Magnificat: December 23, 2019

…he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. – Luke 1:53

One look at my calendar for the next month and it’s any wonder I’ll have time to sleep: assorted birthday and holiday parties, medical appointments, watching twin granddaughters for four days, multiple meetings, caring for my elderly mother, church responsibilities, and a looming deadline on my new manuscript. Oh, yeah, and Christmas. It seems more like the hurry season than the quiet, spirit-filled waiting season of Advent.

This passage from Luke seems to be more about our spiritual lives than anything having to do with physical hunger or riches. I don’t know about you, but when I enter a sanctuary—like I did this fall, visiting no less than fifty Italian churches and cathedrals and basilicas—I have an immediate and complete sense of calm, of wonder, of awe. It is as if an invisible cloud envelops me and my sense of time is dulled. I am in the very presence of the Lord, open to His leading (this phenomenon can also happen at the seashore or in the deep woods, high atop a mountain or, yes, even wandering in the desert. It is the feeling of being on holy ground).

When I am fully aware of being in God’s presence, I am open and ready for all the blessings He bestows. He fills me with so many “good things,” too many to count. But if I’m too busy to acknowledge His presence, I come up empty, every time.

I will try to remember my own advice the next time I’m in the aisles at Safeway or waiting at a red light on Burlington Boulevard. Every moment of every day we are in God’s presence, and He meets us where we are, ready to fill souls hungry for His Word and His Love. It is when we ignore Him that we are like the rich man sent empty away. It is up to us to be open to the Lord’s abundant grace. He is always there.

Thank you for being present in our lives, even when we seem too busy to realize it. Amen.
-Ashley Sweeney