How Does Your Soul Magnify the Lord? – An Advent Reflection from Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

How Does Your Soul Magnify the Lord? – An Advent Reflection from Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. John Esseff reflects on the significance of the Magnificat and the theme of gratitude. He draws parallels between Mary’s experience of divine love and faith at the conception of Jesus and the spiritual awakening of Christians during Advent. The episode emphasizes humility, referencing biblical stories like Hannah’s sacrifice in Samuel and Mary’s humility in Luke’s Gospel. Msgr. Esseff relates these themes to contemporary Christian life, underscoring the transformative impact of recognizing Christ within oneself and the role of the Holy Spirit in deepening this awareness and fostering a global community of faith and humility.

Reading 1   1 SM 1:24-28

“In those days,
Hannah brought Samuel with her,
along with a three-year-old bull,
an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh.
After the boy’s father had sacrificed the young bull,
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
“Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.”
She left Samuel there.

Gospel  LK 1:46-56

Mary said:“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Teresa of Calcutta.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St. Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by  Pope St. John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world, especially to the poor. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests, sisters, seminarians, and other religious leaders around the world.   

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