This week we all woke up to some serious fog. One would think we lived by the ocean, where morning fog is the norm. When one drives in coastal fog one goes in and out of fog banks. When you are in the fog you feel like you will never see sunlight again. Then you enter the sunlight and are under the false impression on will never be in the fog again!!! Wrong. The coastal drive is all about entering the fog, leaving the fog, and entering the fog again, again, and again. That is exactly the way our faith journey is. It is that way for all. It takes honesty to admit it. We admire strong people of faith who were able to meet the challenge of being faithful. That is all that we can have, is the desire to be faithful. What follows is the way we are called to live out our personal faith journey. Each journey is unique, one of a kind. We can never, and I repeat never compare our faith journey with anybody else's. To want another's journey is, the denial of one’s own uniqueness. Yes!! It is hard work to cooperate with God's grace and so come to one’s own unique understanding of the relationship between one self and the power outside of ourselves on which we know we are dependent. That is the essence and the foundation of ALL religion. In Mary and Elizabeth we have two real giants in the realm of faith.
Last week we left off with the arrival of Mary at the home of Elizabeth. Mary must have had to shout a greeting, as she was not expected, "Shalom, Elizabeth are you at home? It is me Mary". Then we have the reaction of Elizabeth. She explodes with joy and happiness. Both she and her unborn son are graced. First, John in the womb, and through him Elizabeth. She, through the power of the Spirit is able to recognize Mary, for who she is, the mother of the coming Savior. The lives of their sons will be interlocked. What John will go through, so will Jesus. Elizabeth's spirit filled greeting loosed within Mary the reality of her truth. Elizabeth was the instrument through which God's grace was channeled to Mary, resulting in her ability to vocalize her reality. From that grace filled encounter we have the awe-full prayer of Mary, also called The Magnificat. It is the prayer of the humble servant, who recognizes her greatness as the result of, the present mercy of her God. She reiterates God's past Goodness to His chosen people and what was the result of His faithfulness. She sings a song warning of God's justice. A theme her Son was to echo when He described what His Ministry was to be about, "I have come to preach good news to the poor ..to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed." So much of Mary's faith had of necessity be passed on the Jesus. The apple does not fall too far from the tree.
This Season of Advent reveals within us anew Mary and Elizabeth. Who have you identified as your Elizabeth? The one that recognizes you as the present day carrier of the Christ? Who have you been Elizabeth to? Who have you encouraged to be faithful to the call of making the Incarnation a deeper reality in a very hostile world? Where is the suffering in your life, where Christ is hidden in the pain so as to reveal to you a new creation. A reality never planned of expected, but now a reality. We are brought to an ever newer understanding of those words, "With God all things are possible...". Where do you see and reverence the Mary within you, be you man or woman? Women have such a head start in the understanding of this birthing process. We men, have to suffer deeper and longer, before we come to the point of realizing and accepting both Mary and Elizabeth within.
What is your personal Magnificat? What is your song of joy, not happiness, springing from the realization of the constant Presence of a merciful God whose presence has not been recognized but in this Advent has broken through the fog? What are the WOW moments that forces a song of joy and thanksgiving, just like Mary? Are you going stop have an individual song, a couples song, or the song of a family? What a wonder-full Christmas tradition this would be? Now what a great treasure would be in the making, if all the "Magnificat" spoken were written down and passed on from generation to generation. What a store house of Good News would be part and parcel of your family. How are you going to pass on the story of today's Mary and Elizabeth as it is experienced in your life, and in the lives of your loved ones? As Mary and Elizabeth were graced and blessed, so you are graced and blessed by the same Source. There was not one grace for Mary, Elizabeth, John, and Jesus, and a lesser one for you and I! We are somehow all one and that makes us all one, in His love.
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