Live + Jesus!
The Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent is marked by the proclamation of one of my favorite Gospels, the Visitation. Mary greets her dear cousin, Elizabeth after an arduous journey. The Virgin carries our newly conceived Savior in her womb; Elizabeth and her husband are still overawed by the news that they will have a child after years of hoping and waiting.
I think of Elizabeth, a barren woman. Perhaps she has been pregnant before. Perhaps she had experienced still births or miscarriages during her married life. Perhaps the child she is expecting now hasn't quickened yet. Perhaps she is living on faith and hope that the Angel's prophecy will be fulfilled, but finds herself tempted, after her many disappointments , by an occasional sense of unease, a twinge of fear.
And then Mary arrives and there is that embrace, and Jesus touches John and John leaps for joy. I like to imagine Mary and Elizabeth at that moment: the laughter, the excitement, the relief, the sure knowledge that God has truly touched them all.
St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal chose the Visitation as the central mystery of the Visitation Order precisely because the circumstances were so ordinary in appearance--a family reunion of sorts, a celebration of new life in the world. New children to anticipate and take joy in. An experience of exuberance, confidence, love and giddy happiness. This good news is not articulated until it is shared.
What is our own mystery, what is our mystery to share? God gives each one of us some special call, a call to be a messenger of love, a unique call that only we can discern. It's there. It's part of you. It could be that you haven't recognized it yet or that you haven't felt it leap in the womb of your hearts, but it is there, it does exist. Let us pray that we will recognize our gift, that we will embrace it, and that we will be brave in announcing such good news as we leap and dance and embrace the Word and each other.
Sr. Mada-anne Gell, V.H.M. Monastery Archivist