Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What would Mary do?

A friend who went to a recent parish mission shares some insight into the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Nativity, and their relevance to our lives. At the end of this entry are some important questions about the roles Mary and Elizabeth can have in our own lives.

When the Angel Gabriel delivers the news that Mary is to give birth to the Savior, she doesn’t fully understand. Gabriel calms her by telling her not to be afraid.

Mary's next step is to seek more information, to ponder it, and to tell the angel, "Let it be done to me." Then she visits her cousin Elizabeth, whose own unborn child leaps in her womb at Mary’s arrival, acknowledging that Mary is carrying the Savior. Elizabeth tells Mary she is "blessed among women" and blessed is the fruit of her womb. Mary responds with her Magnificat.

What extraordinary developments from Mary's own confusing situation; she questions, ponders, takes the angel’s advice, then goes to the aid of her cousin. Elizabeth in turn honours Mary and recognizes the gift she carries within her.

When we are troubled, concerned, afraid, or discouraged, we can take a page from Mary. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and wondering what we are called to. We may experience fear, but we are to trust in God, step outside ourselves, and bring the gift of charity to those around us.

This time of the Incarnation is a prime season to consider our response to God's actions in our own lives. When the unexpected and the bewildering come our way, we can either resist with fear and anger, or we can ponder, seek answers, trust, and act in charity.

This is a good time to remember the many instances when we have been supported by others through troubling times. One of the gifts of the Nativity is to bring that gift to others in their periods of disability, doubt and despair.

And so we can ask, what would Mary do? What would Elizabeth do? When in our lives have we been helped by a Mary or an Elizabeth? Where are we called to be Mary or Elizabeth in someone else's life?  You're welcome to share your thoughts here.

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