Faith gives you life and calls you to live with a mission. That’s what it did for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Luke’s gospel before today’s reading said that Mary believed in the message of an angel in Nazareth. She welcomed the Son of God to be born of her. He brought life to her and to the world.
He gave her a mission, Luke’s gospel says today. Mary set out “in haste” for the hill country of Judea to visit Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, who also was with child. Mary has a mission.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb.” The infant who would be John the Baptist, leaped for joy, the gospel says.
Both of these women had exceptional faith. Mary, the younger woman, accepted what the angel asks, even as she questions how it will take place and the meaning of it all.
Elizabeth, the older woman, conceives with her husband, Zechariah. But she’s an old woman, pregnant with a child. However miraculous her pregnancy was, she must have felt fear and uncertainty for having a child in her old age. Like Mary, she must have asked, “How can this be?” “What does this all mean?”
Mary’s visit took those fears away. The child in Elizbeth’s womb leaped for joy. Elizabeth’s fears were turned into joy. Faith gives you life and sends you into life on a mission. Exceptional faith, in the case of Mary and Elizabeth led to an exceptional mission.
In spite of what some people think, faith is not a burden that cripples you. Faith is a gift that empowers you. It takes you beyond your dreams and what you hope for.
“Blessed are you who believed,” Elizabeth says to Mary.
“You too, my people, are blessed,” comments St. Ambrose, “ you who have heard and who believe. Every soul that believes — that soul both conceives and gives birth to the Word of God and recognizes his works.
“Let the soul of Mary be in each one of you, to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let the spirit of Mary be in each one of you, to rejoice in God. According to the flesh only one woman can be the mother of Christ, but in the world of faith Christ is the fruit of all of us.”
As with Mary so with us, faith gives life and sends us on a mission..
Four years ago, on May 31st, we blessed our Mary Garden here at Immaculate Conception Monastery. We will celebrate Mass in our chapel at 11 AM and pray afterwards in the Mary Garden to Mary, Queen of All Creation.