“Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit proclaims ‘And how is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me. And Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Luke 1:43,46
The gospel account from Luke of the Visitation ushers in the Fourth Sunday of Advent 2021. As I reflected on this gospel, I was drawn to the depiction of the Visitation by Brother Mickey McGrath. His painting is one of my favorite depictions of the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth because it reflects such joy and love as these two pregnant relatives greet each other. Both women, the young Mary, and the older Elizabeth, offer support to each other in the unfolding of the mystery of their “yes” to God.
The love and faith in God of Mary and Elizabeth, provided the foundation for their deep openness to God in their life. This openness to the Spirit of God fostered their joy in accepting how God was being manifested in and through them. Steeped in faith and love, they were able to draw on God for strength during their times of uncertainty and challenge.
Consider the risk of Mary’s “yes,” being young, unmarried, and pregnant in her culture. Think of the difficulty that Elizabeth experienced during a time when barrenness was a source of shame. Both Mary and Elizabeth faced uncertain and challenging situations, yet they persisted in their trust, love, and faith in God. When I think of the uncertainties and challenges of our times, this joyous encounter of Mary and Elizabeth, is a reminder that the same Spirit that was present within them, dwells within us.
As we continue our Advent journey, I invite you to reflect on recognizing the visitation or movement of God’s Spirit in your own experience? Perhaps you experienced God’s Spirit in the comforting support of a friend or in the unexpected kindness of a stranger. Maybe it was simply an unexpected sense of peace. How has God’s Spirit, which dwells within you, moved you in your life recently?
As we draw closer to celebrating Emmanuel—God with Us, like Mary and Elizabeth, may we too, rejoice in the gift of God, our Savior!
If you feel the Spirit of God moving you to consider religious life as a Sister, please contact us to walk with you through this time of discernment.
Blessings on the rest of your Advent and on the Christmas holidays!