Fourth Sunday in Advent

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Micah 5:1-4
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45

The Visitation

This is the final week of Advent and in a few days we will celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus into our world. For the last two weeks we heard stories about John the Baptist preparing the way for the coming of Jesus. Today we switch gears and hear the gospel story of John’s mother and Mary, the mother of Jesus, coming together prior to their children’s births. This meeting of the two women is celebrated as the Visitation.

Elizabeth, Mary’s older cousin, is filled with the Holy Spirit as she greets Mary. Her words live on today as part of the “Hail Mary” we pray so often. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary responds with the words we know today as the Magnificat. Her opening words reveal her relationship with God. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”

In this last week of Advent, we are reminded to always have a deep trust in God as Mary did. This trust enables us to bring the Word of God, Jesus of Nazareth, into our world so that we can be a sign of God’s presence to everyone we meet.

Thomas Merton wrote that one way to pray was to rewrite the psalms or other writings in our own words. What follows is a rewritten Magnificat that is a challenging prayer for us to live by. Although written for women this Magnificat speaks to all people regardless of gender.

Our souls magnify the holiness which dwells inside.

Our spirits rejoice in the presence of the Holy One, 

because we as women [and men] have been touched and called.

Yes, from this day forward all generations will call us blessed.

For great things have been done through us and by those who went before us.

Holy is our name and we have shown mercy and strength 

as women [and men] from age to age.

We have gathered our courage and steadfastness

and walked to heal the brokenhearted with tenderness and care.

We have called forth truth and created a new shape for living

            what we believe to be just.

Yes, we have been hungry and have filled each other with good things.

Yes, indeed by our giving and our faithfulness, by our passion and courage…

            all generations of women [and men] from this day forth

will be blessed.  

(Source unknown)

As we prepare for Christmas, spend some time reflecting on the role of Mary as the woman who gave flesh to Jesus.

How have you been preparing for Christmas? How can you use this last week to be ready interiorly?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Elaine Berkopec says:

    Maureen, thank you so much for your reflections. Mary’s Song has come to mean so much more to me. The words are revolutionary, about deposing the mighty, raising up the lowly, filling the hungry, and sending the rich away empty. I also love the story of Mary and Elizabeth’s encounter. It’s one of the rare times in the Scriptures when we see and hear only women speaking together about God and God‘s work. Lots to think about and pray about this last week of advent! Thanks again.


    1. I agree. Thanks for your kind words.

      On Fri, Dec 17, 2021 at 7:36 AM Angela For Today wrote:



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