Introduction to 'Living the Magnificat'

A group of Jesuits from Colombia sing Señora del Camino.  ‘Our Lady of the Way,’ or perhaps better, ‘Our Lady of the Journey, show me the way to reach the Father, at the side of your Son.’
Welcome to the Pray as you go day retreat Living the Magnificat. This short retreat encourages you to prayerfully reflect on the words of Mary’s Song from the Gospel of Luke.  Because the Magnificat is recited every day at Evening Prayer, it is probably one of the most frequently used, and perhaps most familiar, pieces of Scripture.  But how often do we take time to contemplate the message contained in the words? This retreat encourages you to reflect on the two readings associated with the Feast of the Visitation – a reading from the Prophet Zephaniah, and the Gospel Reading telling of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth.  Through these texts we will explore how to live out the message of Mary’s Song in our lives. Mary is the model for our lives and relationship with God.  Her life shows us how to live in relationship with God, how to be open to God’s Will, and how to respond to God.  In this passage of Scripture too, she sums up the hopes of generations of Prophets and Patriarchs; she speaks prophetically about the Kingdom of God.  This retreat will try and help you to understand how to make these prophetic words part of your daily life.
A retreat is a chance to take time away from the normal routine of life – to still yourself and look back over what has happened, look at what is happening in your life at present, and to make changes in your life for the future.  God was always working in Mary’s life, and he works in your own life too, gently leading you to greater communion with God.  In order to hear God’s voice during this time of prayer, it’s important to dedicate time to the retreat. To dedicate time either over today, if you’re doing the Retreat in one day, or over a couple of days, and to be dedicated in giving this time to God.  Work out when best suits you – it doesn’t matter how you follow this Retreat, just try to be faithful to the time you have given it.

This Retreat has three sections.  The readings are focused around those for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The first section of this Retreat will focus on a passage from the Prophet Zephaniah and will encourage you to focus on your life as it is now, on where God is in your life.  The second section of the Retreat will encourage you to imagine the scene described in Luke’s Gospel of the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, and the events around Mary’s Song.  The third and final section of the Retreat will take the words of the Magnificat line by line, giving you time to reflect on them.
 We are all unique, and so we all approach these moments of prayer in completely different ways; we all have different needs, desires, longings, histories, problems, joys. So before you begin the Retreat, are there any situations or problems particularly weighing on your mind and heart now? A Retreat is a special time of prayer, a privileged time of prayer. What particular thing do you want to bring to Our Lady at this time? A Retreat is a time that gives us chance to grow. Are there any particular graces that you want to ask Mary, mother of God for? Any areas of your spiritual life where you want to grow?   Our Lady of the Journey, show me the way to reach the Father, at the side of your Son. Amen.

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