Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fourth Tuesday of Advent: Making Space to Unlock Greater Grace

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant.” – Lk. 1:46-48

The Magnificat is one of my favorite passages in the Gospels, mainly because I hope that each day I can proclaim my own version to God more and more. This time around, I find myself drawn to a different aspect of the scene though - that of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth.

After Mary received the invitation and news from the Angel Gabriel for her own and Elizabeth’s miraculous conceptions, I am struck by her next course of action: she hurried to meet Elizabeth. She did not sit around at home meditating further on what just happened, nor did she go knock on her neighbor’s door. No, she travelled quite a distance, as fast as she could, to greet and spend time with her cousin.

I never thought to wonder why before, as I do now. Reflecting on a recent visit with a good friend provided some insight. The visit left me with a deep sense of home, and I saw that it was more than just a comfortable physical space; it was the sense of being met and embraced where I was, as I was. To truly get to the Magnificat-ish moment, though, I also had to allow myself to be more fully seen (which has actually not been easy) - with all my struggles and joys - in that welcoming, safe space. Then we were both able to provide consolation to and celebrate one another with deep gratitude for the other’s presence.

It is perhaps that being as human as graced, Mary would desire to be met and acknowledged where she was as well. Her cousin would understand her situation. Would she still have proclaimed her Magnificat in the absence of the meeting? I’m not quite sure. At least not out loud. She allowed herself to be fully seen before Elizabeth, and in doing so Elizabeth could only rejoice all the more, which then led to Mary’s proclamation we know so well today. In sharing grace then, it only multiplied all the more. Could this dynamic be the birth of Jesus in our hearts that God so longingly waits for, from us?

Who might I be invited to meet and embrace where they are on their journey today? Where might I be invited to allow myself to be more fully seen? How can I make greater room for this dynamic in my life?

Quyen Ngo

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