Who would you say is a great role model of mercy? Obviously, the first name to come to mind is Jesus, and that is correct. However, the Blessed Mother is also a great role model too.
Did you notice in the Gospel this week? Mary had just found out she would give birth to the Son of God, but she also learned that her cousin was pregnant too, so she set out to be with Elizabeth, in the hill country south of Jerusalem, probably walking there as most people did, about the distance from Walpole to Concord, NH. Why? Because she was full of Grace.
As we celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mary was filled with grace from the moment of her conception and thus without original sin, so mercy and charity come naturally to her, like breathing. She hastens to help Elizabeth because, as an older woman, her pregnancy might be difficult and she might need the much younger Mary to help around the home. Mary doesn’t hesitate, even though she too is newly pregnant. She goes and offers herself to her cousin.
Do we hesitate to help others, even our families? Do we not offer ourselves in difficult situations? We were born with original sin and the capacity to sin is in us. We can be selfish and self-centered and frankly we like the easy path. However, we
change and human beings have a
capacity for good. We only need look at the saints to see that. As we approach the end of Advent and the beginning of the Christmas season we need to pray about how we are going to let the birth of Christ change us, how we will become better disciples.
If we let another Christmas go by without talking to a sibling because of some foolish fight, or holding a grudge against a parent, or cheating a neighbor, or cheating on our spouse or whatever the sin, are we allowing the salvation promised us to slip away? The Christian life is about change, our change for the better. The Christian life is about holiness and our journey to it, which is why the saints look so amazing to us. We look at them and think we can’t possibly do that, and yet these fellow human beings
do it, proving it to be attainable if we truly cooperate with the Holy Spirit. The famous English Catholic G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” I don’t think I could say it any better than that. Let’s continue to pray for each other that we’ll allow the love of God to permeate our lives so that we can be the best version of ourselves, the Christian version. Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent and peace be with you.
Photo: Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP/Flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0