Reflection for the Vigil of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2012

December 20,2012

Mary Teresa Morris, OSB

"Mary went to her cousin Elizabeth in great haste."  My mind kept coming back to this sentence.  Great haste?  What was the rush?  Elizabeth was not due for another 3 months.  Great haste? Joseph was now, as the phrase goes, "in the loop." No need to run from him.  Great haste? What was the rush? What was the need? Whose rush and whose need?

Perhaps Mary needed the understanding of one who would truly understand.  I would imagine that things may have been a bit tense between her and her parents:   no mention of an angelic explanation for that household. Although Joseph understood, he still had neighbors, clients, and his relatives with which to deal, not to mention the town gossips.

Mary may well have needed those rare gifts of true understanding and acceptance.  Elizabeth was in a unique position to provide both.  For that, Mary was deeply grateful.

Is that not why many of our guests, clients, students come to us? Acceptance and understanding are hallmarks of Benedictine hospitality.  

In a few days, we celebrate the Incarnation:  the deepest expression of God’s understanding and acceptance of His children. Let us reflect His love through offering the gifts of understanding and acceptance to those in our lives who seek us out, hoping for an accepting embrace.  Then our souls, like those of Hannah, Elizabeth and Mary will truly, 'Magnify the Lord, and glorify God our Savior.'