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Lord Jesus

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Luke 1:39 - 45

Going, and letting go

As Catholics, today’s Gospel reading is very familiar. We meditate on the Mystery of the Visitation in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, traditionally prayed on Mondays and Saturdays. We celebrate the Feast of the Visitation in the spring on May 31. It is a critical moment in salvation history, but we might tend to pass over it precisely because it is so familiar.

What can we learn from Mary in this reading?

Go. The angel Gabriel had just told Mary she was to be the mother of the Son of God and that her infertile and elderly relative was also bearing a child. So what did she do? She went to her. It would have been easier to stay home, but instead, she traveled “in haste.” There are times we can and should physically go to a friend or relative to offer help, hope, and care as Mary did, even if it can be difficult or inconvenient.

Pope Benedict XVI said of Mary, “May we imitate her example of readiness and generosity in the service of our brethren. Indeed, only by accepting God’s love and making of our existence a selfless and generous service to our neighbor, can we joyfully lift a song of praise to the Lord.”

Rejoice. Mary rejoiced that she was chosen of all women to be the Christ-bearer. Elizabeth was rejoicing that her prayers were answered and she was at last going to have a child, and one who was destined to be great. Even the babies were rejoicing! Little John the Baptist lept in his mother’s womb.

We can imitate Mary in finding joy in our salvation. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis wrote, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.”

Let go. The third way we can imitate Mary is perhaps one that we may always be striving for, and that is abandonment to God’s will. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled,” Elizabeth told Mary. What would it be like if others could say that of us?

St. John Paul II said, “By accepting the divine will, Mary offered her active cooperation so that God could become man in her maternal womb. She bore the divine Word within her as she went to visit her elderly cousin who, in turn, was awaiting the Baptist’s birth.”

Try this: Meditate on who you might need to see, how you might rejoice more today, or where you could start letting go of something that is hindering you in your walk with Christ.

Lord, give me the grace to imitate the Blessed Mother, who always leads people to you.