Friday, December 18, 2015

Mary's Advent (Over at Ignitum Today)

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Hail Mary by RakstarDesigns (Used with Permission)
The season of Advent is a time for waiting, preparing, and eagerly anticipating the birth of Christ.  It seems like no one could understand this period of time more than Mary, as she waited what probably seemed like a very long nine months for the birth of her son.

You could say that Mary’s personal Advent journey started at the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel greets her, saying: "Hail, full of Grace! The Lord is with you."  Even Mary was “greatly troubled” by these words, and pondered their meaning. We can look to Mary in our own walk through Advent as we prepare for Christ, discovering through her what it means to be full of grace and for the Lord to be with you.

When Mary told the angel Gabriel to let it "be done according to your word", she said yes to being with God, yes to being full of grace.  Her yes affirmed this greeting—just as when we say yes to God, we are filled with His grace.

Her yes can be a guide as we journey through Advent (and life) and as we truly prepare ourselves to be with the Lord.

We can never carry Christ like Mary did.  She quite literally was with the Lord as she physically carried Him in her womb. However, we can also be "pregnant" with Christ by carrying him in our hearts, and through receiving Him in the Eucharist.

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Kissing the Face of God, by Morgan Weistling (Used with Permission)
To truly prepare for Christ’s birth, it must go even further than just being with the Lord in our own hearts.  Mary also spent her time of waiting in service to others—she ran with great haste to be with her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth immediately recognizes that she is in the presence of God by being in Mary’s presence, as John leaps in her womb. Mary’s Advent preparation thus also involved her physically bringing Christ to others.  We too can be a vessel for Christ, especially during this Advent season, by bringing the light of Christ to all that we meet and serve.

Mary’s Advent was long. She spent nine months waiting and traveled many miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We only spend four weeks in preparation, and (most likely) don’t have to travel very far by riding on a donkey. But we can apply how Mary prepared for the coming of Jesus to our own Advent season—by pondering the meaning of being with the Lord, saying yes to accepting His grace, and bringing Christ to others.

This post was originally published at Ignitum Today.

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