The Spirit of Advent
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
The first week reminded us of Christ’s coming. The second, introduced to us His precursor in John the Baptist. The third week gave us a glimpse of the promise of the Spirit from Christ in John’s preaching. This fourth week’s Gospel reading presents to us the Spirit as the main mover behind the coming of Jesus.
It was the Spirit who moved Mary to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and the same Spirit who moved Elizabeth to sing praises for the mother of the Christ: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” But above all, it was by the power of the Spirit that the Word was made flesh. The Spirit of Advent is the spirit of repentance, the spirit of expectation, but also the spirit of joy!
The waiting is about to be concluded. Many have been moved in preparing for the coming of the Savior. John leaped in the womb. Elizabeth sang her song. Mary was made the first apostle. In all these things we join the Church in singing her praises of blessings, as we too are filled with the Spirit of Advent, a Church pregnant with expectant joy!