“Let us seek God and not ourselves: if we seek our own satisfaction we cannot expect to receive any reward from God.” ~Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Monday, December 22 ~ Fourth Week in the Season of Advent
Holy Gospel: Luke 1:46-56 Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.
Meditation: Mary accepted her mission with uncompromising faith and obedience. She acted with unwavering trust and faith because she believed that God would fulfill the word he had spoken. Her great hymn of praise echoes the song of Hannah (see 1 Samuel 2:1-10) and proclaims the favor of the Lord: God exalts the lowly and he fills the hungry with good things. Hannah like Mary had been without child and God in a marvelous way gave her a son, named Samuel, whom she dedicated at an early age to the service of the Lord (1 Sam. 1:24ff.) Mary, too, would lose her son to a servant ministry that would take him to the cross. Christmas is a time for renewing our faith and hope in God and in his promises and for deepening our love for God and for neighbor.
Prayer: O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death, willed to redeem it by the coming of your Only Begotten Son, grant, we pray, that those who confess his Incarnation with humble fervor may merit his company as their Redeemer. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Those who hunger for the Lord will not be disappointed. The Lord himself will fill them with the fruits of his peace, joy, and righteousness. We see God’s boundless love manifested in the promise of a Redeemer. As the events leading to the birth of our Savior unfold we see all the prophecies, promises and prayers of the Old Testament being fulfilled because “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son” (John 3:16). The Gospel of Luke reveals the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s life. When Elizabeth and Mary greeted one another they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with a joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s promise to give a Savior. John the Baptist, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to his coming and leapt for joy in the womb of his mother as the Holy Spirit revealed to him the presence of the King to be born. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God reigns within each of us. Do you seek the Lord Jesus and the power of his Holy Spirit so that you may be renewed in faith, hope, and love?