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's really a simple lesson this mystery teaches - 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.
"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home."
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.
To our modern way of thinking, Mary surely deserved to stay 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 Elizabeth's pregnancy, and couldn't wait to get there and share the wonder of it all with her. Now the two of them could delight in each other's 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.
It's really a simple lesson this mystery teaches - 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. I'm your neighbor and you're mine. There will be plenty of opportunities for us to care for each other and meet the other's needs. But will we?
And what about the neighbor we don't particularly like, or the neighbor we just can't stand? There's 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-don't-want-to is the truest of all.
A good place to start is our own families. Love-on-purpose that family member you don't 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 member's 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 Elizabeth's.
Gracious Mother, help me to be generous with my time and talents, and to reach out to my neighbors with the love of Jesus.
Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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