Fourth Sunday of Advent


“We need others who can whisper to us with their souls and say….

yes….

I understand!”

The circle is complete and the birth of the Christ child is upon us. So what do we learn from this fourth candle that nearly completes our Advent celebration.  What from this wonderful story of Mary fleeing to her cousin do we have to learn about our relationship with God?

If we take a step back from this story and look at it from the purely observant imagination I think we could come up with this answer:

Everyone needs a companion….everyone needs someone else in and on their Spiritual Journey.

Mary a very young, unwed, and now pregnant girl…she knew she could not walk this journey alone and she had listened deeply to the angels announcement.

She knew Elizabeth had also had an incredible encounter with God.

She knew she would understand.

So off she goes…to be with someone who knows…

It’s proof I believe that the Catholic understanding of holiness is spot on….its not a “me” and “jesus” journey….the Spiritual life is most definitely a “we” and “jesus” journey.

Have you ever thought about it?

We never see in Sacred Scripture where Jesus takes just one person alone and goes off….

the stories of Sacred Scripture are filled with journey’s of mutuality and companionship.

We go to the mountain top together…..

We go to the desert..wander for fourty years…together….

We go to the manger together-with animals and angels and shepherds.

We go to the temple…together in good times and in bad…at high feasts and tragedies…we go together.

We go even to the Garden of Gethsemane together and together walk the road to Calvary…

sometimes in fear, sometimes in denial, sometimes in courage, and sometimes in utter astonishment.

But why?

Why do we need to journey with another?

Why do we need to have another on the journey?

I think it maybe a deep psychological and spiritual need.

We need others to say to us what Elizabeth says to Mary….”Blessed—Holy are you who believe that what Our God has said to you will be accomplished!”

We need others who can whisper to us with their souls and say….yes….I understand

We need others who are willing to sit with us when we are locked in the prison of fear and doubt and trembling, not to fix it, but just to be there with us…to help us to know what the Incarnation is all about…that we are never alone!

I think back on my own life….and it has been a wild ride…mountain tops and deep dark cold valleys…and I have had the honor of walking them all with lots of different people.

Sometimes they told me like the disciples told Jesus at the transfiguration….that it was good that we were here in this uncomfortable moment…

and other times they told me I was heading down a wrong path.

Sometimes I have had conflicting messages from my companions, and then I went back to my prayer and said…ok God…if this is your vision you tell me who to listen to.

Then I waited….sometimes a long time…and it became clear.

We didn’t finish reading it today, but in this story it says…Mary stayed with Elizabeth for several months.

Maybe that is one of the lessons we learn from this entire Advent Season…..a lesson that stands in direct opposition to our current world understanding.

The journey of our relationship with God is not an instant one….it is a long one.

There is no microwave for the Spiritual life and there is no Amazon next day delivery….

Maybe in these next two days…we might stop long enough, or even while we are busy wrapping presents and preparing meals and think about the companions who have been with us throughout our lives.

Maybe the coming Christmas season might be a time to send a note and say thanks…thanks for walking with me at that time in my life….you were the living Incarnation, and because of you I know of God’s love even more!