(Gospel)Was Mary about to cry for joy? She didn't know. She felt her sandals burning on her wearied feet. She was simply exhausted. Like a finish-line she was about to cross the threshold of of her cousin's doorway. Emotions were high!
"Elisabeth is pregnant!" she kept saying to herself. She pulled her cloak tighter around her to keep out the gusty bursts of wind and sand.
Many questions flowed through her young mind: "I wonder how much she's showing. Will she recognize me? Will she be happy that someone else knows her secret? What if she really didn't want any help? How will Zechariah welcome me?"
Mary's thoughts went back to the angel's words: "And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
"In other words" she pondered "if Elizabeth is truly pregnant, then I am also truly pregnant!" It was just so hard to believe. She had believed the angel, but then suddenly he was gone. From one instant to the next she was supposed to be pregnant?! Mary remembered placing a hand on her womb right after he disappeared; now she paused, wiped her brow from the heat, and did it again, feeling for any signs of life." She smiled to herself: "How silly can I be? If I'm only weeks pregnant, of course I won't feel anything." And yet, she still looked down at her robed-covered belly again.
"The Messiah is in there ... in ME?"
Maybe Mary is expecting nothing more than to greet a pregnant woman in her sixth month, but what she encounters is for her much more of a sign.
Now she steps through the gateway... her heart pounding. Their eyes meet; baby John leaps inside the womb; tears begin to fall as they fall into each other's arms.
And suddenly - unexpectedly for our young tired traveler - Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, utters words of balsam for Mary's tough faith: "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
When we put ourselves in Mary's hot sandals, suddenly our trials of faith don't look so huge. And when we do give ourselves completely, like Mary did, from where we least expect it, God's strength and support will come to keep us strong.
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