"Everyone who belongs to the Truth hears my voice…" (John 18:37)

4th Sunday of Advent – Reflection

candles-cc-aharden-200From a purely human perspective, Mary was an amazing woman.  She has just received the incredible news that she is to conceive by the Holy Spirit and give birth to God’s own Son, yet she thinks nothing of herself and immediately sets out to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant in her old age.  Mary is certainly no ordinary woman, but her actions go much deeper than just selfless love toward her cousin.  Acting completely on faith that what the angel has told her about Elizabeth is true, Mary makes the long journey on foot to Judah.  “Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus [becomes] a visit from God to his people.”1

In a similar way, when Elizabeth greets Mary as “the mother of my Lord,” we know that Elizabeth couldn’t possibly have come by this information through ordinary means.  It was an age when there were no quick or easy ways to communicate – no phones or cell phones, no emails, none of the means that we’ve come to take for granted.  Rather, the Holy Spirit is at work!  And, with the child leaping for joy in her womb, Elizabeth proclaims the words that we now recite each time we say the Rosary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lk 1:42).

The entire Gospel this week points to the profound action of the Holy Spirit – guiding Mary to go to her cousin, causing the unborn baby John to leap inside his mother, and prompting Elizabeth to announce Mary as the one chosen by God to bear His son into the world.  We sometimes underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.  But here we see clearly that if we respond to such promptings in word and in action, we too can experience the great love and joy that are fruits of the Spirit.  “By this power of the Spirit, God’s children can bear much fruit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”2

_ Kelley Holy

1CCC, 717.

2CCC, 736.

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