Father Barry O’Toole, LC
Luke 1: 39-45
days Mary set out and went with haste to
a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered
the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth
heard Mary´s greeting, the child leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and
exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And
why has this happened to me, that the mother of
my Lord comes to me? For as soon as
I heard the sound of your greeting, the child
in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she
who believed that there would be a fulfillment of
what was spoken to her by the Lord."
Lord, you know the reality of my life and how
much I need your grace. I believe that you
love me and desire the best for me. I,
too, want to respond to your love, and thus, with
humility, I ask for your sanctifying grace. As I
contemplate the wonders you worked in Mary’s and Elizabeth’s
lives, I desire to imitate their attitudes and convictions, so
that you will be able to transform my life.
Petition: Lord, make me an instrument of your
grace and peace.
1. Right to the Doorstep: After receiving
God’s messenger into her life, Mary then becomes God’s messenger
to her cousin Elizabeth. In such a short time
Mary has learned so much from her Son. She
delivers Christ right to Elizabeth’s doorstep and knocks. Without Elizabeth’s
consent, Mary can go no farther. Elizabeth comprehends in
an instant that this is more than a courtesy
visit. Her child, John the Baptist, helps her to
understand as he leaps for joy upon hearing Mary’s voice
and perceiving Christ’s presence. Elizabeth allows them to enter
her house, and Mary and Jesus begin to transform
this family’s life. John and Elizabeth are filled with the
Holy Spirit, and Elizabeth immediately becomes an apostle and
prophet of God.
2. The Cooperation of Man and God: Mary
is always willing to help because she is so
humble. Despite the fact that she is also pregnant,
she doesn’t hesitate to perform small acts of charity and
help with the ordinary chores around the house. However,
Mary was also an instrument of the Holy Spirit
as she went about her work, and, as with Elizabeth,
the Holy Spirit was able to touch the hearts
of others and to bring about their transformation by
instilling sanctifying grace. Have I achieved a degree of holiness
that I might also become an effective instrument of
God for those around me?
3. The Spontaneous Magnificat: The presence
of God in Mary’s and Elizabeth’s souls can be
seen in two ways. First, they both glorify God
for the marvelous things he is doing in their lives:
Elizabeth praises Mary for having brought the Savior into
her life and for filling her child with the
Holy Spirit even before he is born. Mary, in turn,
praises God in the beautiful prayer of the Magnificat.
Second, both Elizabeth and Mary become the first witnesses
of the arrival of the Messiah. Every true encounter
with Christ necessarily leads us to become his apostles. Have
I, too, encountered Christ through prayer, the sacraments and
service to my neighbor? Have I helped others to
experience God’s loving presence in their lives?
Christ: Lord, during this time of prayer, I want to
enter into a deeper relationship with you. I want
to experience your loving presence in the daily activities
of my life. As Christmas Day approaches, I want
to grow in my love for you. I want to
share this love with others by imitating your meekness
and humility. Please, do not pass by me this Christmas
without granting me at least this grace. Transform this
plea, the supplication of this beggar, into the treasure
of a benefactor for others.
I will strive to share my experience of God with
at least one person I meet.