4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT.
MARY’S FAITHFUL FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S WILL.
The Gospel of last Sunday presented to us the figure of St. John the Baptist . During this 4th Sunday of Advent, the Gospel presents to us the figure of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary during her visitation to her cousin, Elizabeth (Lk 1:39–45).
If we are to recall the previous events, Mary had just received God’s message through Archangel Gabriel that she was going to be the Mother of God: a divine calling to which she responded generously with her “Fiat”, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1: 38),” thereby making God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 a palpable reality: God became man to be with us out of love and for our salvation. Upon learning from the angel that her cousin St Elizabeth is soon to give birth and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid.
- The fact that she, being the mother of God, “set out to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah” in order to assist her cousin, Elizabeth, who in her advanced age, miraculously conceived a son, tell us a lot about her great HUMILITY and SPIRIT OF SERVICE.
- She didn’t think at all that as the mother of God, she has all the right to be served…nor did she regard the difficulties such trip would involve: but just that, without hesitating and procrastinating, she swiftly went to her cousin’s aid to a town now thought to be Ain-Karim, a 90-km bumpy road trip, which at that time would have taken 4-5 days of travel.
“Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.’”
- It is noteworthy that St. Elizabeth used the same words with which the Archangel Gabriel greeted Mary. St. Bede comments that this is “to show that she should be honoured by angels and by men and why she should indeed be revered above all other women (In Lucae Evangelium expositio).”
- Furthermore, Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary “THE MOTHER OF MY LORD”, thereby demonstrating that Mary is TRULY THE MOTHER OF GOD.
MARY IS THE FINAL POINT OF THE ADVENT SEASON she teaches us how to prepare ourselves and receive the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. She is truly the model of the dispositions which we creatures should have towards our Creator: complete submission, total self-giving and, loving and faithful fulfillment of God’s will. Through her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring on the Redemption.
This is a motive for us to elevate our hearts to the Most Holy Trinity, thanking Him, for giving us Mary, the Mother of God, who had a complete disposal to fulfill God’s Will.
In the book, “God and the world”, Peter Seewald asked the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger-, the future Pope Benedict XVI: “WHAT DOES MARY MEAN TO YOU, PERSONALLY?” The Cardinal’s response was: “AN EXPRESSION OF THE CLOSENESS OF GOD. IT IS WITH HER INVOLVEMENT THAT THE INCARNATION BECOMES REALLY CONCRETE AND COMPREHENSIBLE.”
Mary’s entire willingness to say YES to God had, as a result, the “PHYSICAL ENTRANCE” of God in the history of mankind. And as we thank Our Mother for this, we, too, should ask ourselves: AM I ENTIRELY AT GOD’S DISPOSAL, IN SO FAR AS DOING WHAT HE WANTS FROM ME IN EVERY MOMENT OF MY LIFE? Let us not forget that “THIS IS THE KEY TO OPEN THE DOOR AND ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: qui facit voluntatem Patris mei qui in coelis est, ipse intrabit in regnum coelorum — HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER… HE SHALL ENTER!”
But the question arises: HOW DO I COME TO KNOW GOD’S WILL? God’s will is made known to us in many different ways: through His many INSTRUMENTS: the Church and her priests; in spiritual direction and Confession; through one’s parents who have the primary obligation in educating their children in the faith; through one’s well-formed conscience and its correct judgments; but above all, through PERSONAL PRAYER.
In one of the many conversations Our Lord had with St. Faustina, He said: “When you reflect upon what I tell you in the depths of your heart, you profit more than if you had read many books. Oh, if souls would only want to listen to My voice when I am speaking in the depths of their hearts, they would reach the peak of holiness in a short time (St. Faustina, Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul, n. 584).”
We could easily turn deaf to what God wants from us and unfortunately we lose the great opportunity to carry out what is good, not only for us, but for a lot of people. Mary’s generous response exemplifies this perfectly, as well as the lives of many saints: St. Augustine, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa de Avila, St. Josemaria….and so on. “MANY GREAT THINGS DEPEND — DON’T FORGET IT — ON WHETHER YOU AND I LIVE OUR LIVES AS GOD WANTS (St. Josemaria, “The Way” nn. 754-755).”
Hence, we should ask ourselves frequently during the day: “AM I DOING WHAT GOD WANTS FROM ME RIGHT NOW?” “AM I DOCILE TO GOD’S INSINUATIONS IN MY SOUL?”
A Christian who really seeks to follow Christ must untiringly strive to do God’s will, overcoming our love of comfort, tiredness and selfishness, for this is what Jesus Himself did, thereby giving us a clear path to follow: “MY FOOD IS TO DO THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME, AND TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK (Jn 4:34).”
LET US ASK THE HELP OF OUR LADY, who is both our Mother and Teacher, SO THAT WE, TOO, MAY GENEROUSLY RESPOND AND BE DOCILE TO GOD’S WILL MANIFESTED TO US IN MANY DIFFERENT OCCASIONS THROUGHOUT THE DAY and thus, like Her, LIVE OUR LIVES FOR GOD.
A Happy 4th Sunday of Advent to all of you…may God bless and keep you and your loved ones safe from all harm. And if you haven’t done so yet, I sincerely encourage you –for I want God and you to be happy−, respecting your freedom at the same time, to approach the Sacrament of Confession, so as to be able to receive Our Lord in your heart and in the Holy Communion this Christmas 😀
Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in www.fb.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness or sign-up to our website www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.