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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mary's faith and Elizabeth's rejoicing

Mama Mary visits St Elizabeth, who rejoices at the honour of the visit from the mother of the Lord (graphic from wellsprings.com.au) Why was Elizabeth so filled with joy at Mary's greeting? Because the Holy Spirit filled her with joy. That passage (Lk 1:39-45) is filled with words like blessed, leapt for joy and similar words of rejoicing (a loud cry, honoured). And Elizabeth does not even have to hear the news from Mary about the Word made flesh in her womb, the unborn Son of God. Mary is blessed for her belief in the Lord's promise: trust, faith and hope in the faithfulness of God -- these are blessings of themselves, and they are gifts that keep on giving. Does the Holy Spirit prompt rejoicing in the Incarnation, or in the mother's faith? BOTH, I think. Just as man grieves over both the coming of death through sin and the fall of Eve (and Adam), we rejoice rightly over the coming of Emmanuel and the cooperation of Mary. For to minimize Mary's yes to God is to minimize Eve's (and Adam's) yes to the serpent, which would necessarily increase God's part in the fall -- and that is an impossible proposition!
  So let us believe in God's promises to us; it is all over his love letter to us, in Scripture (check out the first reading from the Song of Songs 2:8-14). Let us faithfully and joyfully say yes to our Father in heaven at every opportunity, and we will be blessed, brothers and sisters of our Lord, who can prompt faith and rejoicing to those whom we greet, too.

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