From Beggar to Benefactor

Challenge: Today, strive to share your experience of God with at least one person.
by Father Barry O’Toole, LC | Source: Catholic.net

 
December 20, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1: 39-45
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know the reality of my life and how much I need your grace. I believe that you love me and desire the best for me. I, too, want to respond to your love, and thus, with humility, I ask for your sanctifying grace. As I contemplate the wonders you worked in Mary’s and Elizabeth’s lives, I desire to imitate their attitudes and convictions, so that you will be able to transform my life.

Petition: Lord, make me an instrument of your grace and peace.

1. Right to the Doorstep
After receiving God’s messenger into her life, Mary then becomes God’s messenger to her cousin Elizabeth. In such a short time Mary has learned so much from her Son. She delivers Christ right to Elizabeth’s doorstep and knocks. Without Elizabeth’s consent, Mary can go no farther. Elizabeth comprehends in an instant that this is more than a courtesy visit. Her child, John the Baptist, helps her to understand as he leaps for joy upon hearing Mary’s voice and perceiving Christ’s presence. Elizabeth allows them to enter her house, and Mary and Jesus begin to transform this family’s life. John and Elizabeth are filled with the Holy Spirit, and Elizabeth immediately becomes an apostle and prophet of God.

2. The Cooperation of Man and God
Mary is always willing to help because she is so humble. Despite the fact that she is also pregnant, she doesn’t hesitate to perform small acts of charity and help with the ordinary chores around the house. However, Mary was also an instrument of the Holy Spirit as she went about her work, and, as with Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit was able to touch the hearts of others and to bring about their transformation by instilling sanctifying grace. Have I achieved a degree of holiness that I might also become an effective instrument of God for those around me?

3. The Spontaneous Magnificat
The presence of God in Mary’s and Elizabeth’s souls can be seen in two ways. First, they both glorify God for the marvelous things he is doing in their lives: Elizabeth praises Mary for having brought the Savior into her life and for filling her child with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. Mary, in turn, praises God in the beautiful prayer of the Magnificat. Second, both Elizabeth and Mary become the first witnesses of the arrival of the Messiah. Every true encounter with Christ necessarily leads us to become his apostles. Have I, too, encountered Christ through prayer, the sacraments and service to my neighbor? Have I helped others to experience God’s loving presence in their lives?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, during this time of prayer, I want to enter into a deeper relationship with you. I want to experience your loving presence in the daily activities of my life. As Christmas Day approaches, I want to grow in my love for you. I want to share this love with others by imitating your meekness and humility. Please, do not pass by me this Christmas without granting me at least this grace. Transform this plea, the supplication of this beggar, into the treasure of a benefactor for others.

Resolution: Today, I will strive to share my experience of God with at least one person I meet.



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