Not an easy vocation, as any mother can testify. Mothers learn the lesson of waiting. Nine months for some go slowly, for others zoom by quickly. Regardless, pregnancy is not easy. Mothers are told to watch their diet, monitor their moods, stay away for loud noises—because everything that they experience affects the baby. Elizabeth’s baby was affected in a positive way by the visit of Mary and the Baby Jesus. St. John leaped in the womb for joy; which is why the visitation is the second Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary. No doubt that all four people were joyful, but St. John was jumping for joy! Talk about an argument for defending life in the womb! Mary and Elizabeth were aware of the beauty of the moment. They were able to appreciate the uniqueness of each other. How unlike our culture. We have problems appreciating people because we are usually finding fault with everything. From government to traffic; from skin color to differences of religion; from thinking that the whole world should be like us to forgetting that Jesus was not an American. Shocking to see the narrow-mindedness of some who are paranoid of people who are different. Such fear is what causes wars to happen. We forget that all people are made in God’s image. Lots of folks are passionate against abortion, and rightly so, but have no qualms about damming people who are Muslims. Since some Muslims are terrorists, then all Muslims must be terrorists. No wonder that Gandhi said, “If I ever meet a real Christian, I’ll become one.”
We have the correct road map. We have fantastic examples of the Saints. We even live in one of the best Country in the world. What’s missing? What ingredient do we need to live up to the Gospel? Mary and Elizabeth had no idea that they were helping to write the Bible by being kind to each other. To them that’s what people did—they helped each other. Can’t count the cups of sugar that my grandmother borrowed and the cups of flour my mother borrowed from my grandmother. That’s what neighbors do—at least when neighbors know each other—talk to each other. Not too long ago doors were left unlocked, windows opened, we walked the streets. We are the ones who change our world. We are at the wheel driving—responsible for what we teach the children.
All creatures are born without fear. Fear is learned behavior. Never forget that fear is the devil’s main weapon. Looks like he’s got a pretty good hold now. One email, a phone call, a text message and an entire city will shut down—paralyzed for fear of what we have seen happen before. If Mary would have stopped to calculate the dangers she would face on the long journey to visit her cousin, she would not have left her house. Mary knew that Elizabeth needed her—that was enough. Her love was stronger than any doubt she might have had. If and when we are kind and are guided by love, then God’s presence is manifested. Finding fault is easy—looking for the good in someone—not so easy—especially when the person is different. The Season of Christmas is right around the corner. We do well to remember what made Christmas possible—the courage of some people who did what God wanted. We know God’s will in our life. It’s certainly not to spread panic. God calls us to holiness—to trust—to forgive.
Although our circumstances might be a bit different from the Mary and Elizabeth—the challenge is the same—to treat each other with kindness.