Bring Christ to your family, as Mary brought Christ to Elizabethís. Let this mystery of the Rosary teach us to love our neighbor.
I suspect Mary was overjoyed at the news of Elizabethís pregnancy, and couldnít wait to get there and share the wonder of it all with her. Now the two of them could delight in each otherís miracles and bask in the glory of God and all He had done by His power alone. I can easily imagine them hugging and laughing and fussing over each other.
Let this mystery teach us to love our neighbor.
Gabriel had just left her, and the first thing she does is prepare to leave and visit Elizabeth, her cousin. Gabriel had told her Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy, a testament to the power of God.
It wouldnít have seemed unreasonable for Mary to have stayed home to rest and take care of herself, now that she herself was expecting. And after all, the angel had said this child would be the holy Son of God! That certainly deserves some pampering and special treatment!
But I suspect Mary was overjoyed at the news of Elizabethís pregnancy, and couldnít wait to get there and share the wonder of it all with her. Now the two of them could delight in each otherís miracles and bask in the glory of God and all He had done by His power alone. I can easily imagine them hugging and laughing and fussing over each other.
Itís really a simple lesson this mystery teaches Ė take care of each other. Even when you have good reason for worrying only about yourself, try to find a way to care for someone else also. Iím your neighbor and youíre mine. There will be plenty of opportunities for us to care for each other and meet the otherís needs. But will we?
And what about the neighbor we donít particularly like? What about the neighbor we canít stand? Thereís where it gets sticky! Even then, we are asked to find ways to show love. Love that is hard to give, love that requires a real sacrifice, love that is on-purpose-even-though-I-really-donít-want-to is the truest of all.
A good place to start is our own families. Love-on-purpose that family member you donít like being around. Love-on-purpose the one who irritates you to no end. Love-on-purpose the relative you have nothing in common with. Love the one who just plain drives you crazy. Do it as unto Jesus, and watch how your heart changes.
Be happy for the blessings in your family memberís lives and celebrate with them. Rejoice in their good fortune without envy, and bear their sorrow with them whenever you can. Pray for them. Bring Christ to your family, as Mary brought Christ to Elizabethís.
These are simple, ordinary bits of guidance, and most of the time weíll do these things without earthly applause. We just do it because itís the right thing to do. We may fail miserably and often in loving our neighbor, but the good news is weíll never run out of chances to live this mystery, and practice makes perfect!
Jennifer Hartline is a Catholic Army wife and stay-at-home mother of three precious kids who writes frequently on topics of Catholic faith and daily living. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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