Mary, having accepted God’s will for her to become the “Mother of God” and informed of her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy, travels for four days (some 80 miles) to the hill country of Judea. Though the Gospel is silent, St. Joseph probably guided Mary on this arduous journey: Mary, born without sin and betrothed to Joseph, would have revealed her miraculous conception and of her desire to be with Elizabeth to her husband Joseph; Joseph, who proves to be a fearless protector and provider for Mary and Jesus, would have without hesitation shepherded his teenage wife on the dangerous journey and remained with Mary until she returned three months later (Luke 1:56).

There are mysterious echoes of the Old Testament in Mary’s journey.  In the Old Testament, King David travels to the hill country of Judea to reclaim the lost Ark of the Covenant which is overshadowed by God’s presence (Exod 40:35); Mary travels to the same area and is the Ark of the New Covenant in which the Son of God resides. King David finds the Ark and is overwhelmed by feelings of unworthiness; Elizabeth has the same response when she greets Mary.  King David leaps with joy in the presence of the Ark; John the Baptist leaps with joy in Elizabeth’s womb. King David returns the Ark of the (Old) Covenant to Jerusalem; Christ will return to Jerusalem and, in His Passion and Resurrection, establish the New Covenant.

Elizabeth is miraculously moved by the Holy Spirit upon Mary’s arrival. Without being told Mary is pregnant (only a few weeks into her pregnancy, Mary does not “show”), Elizabeth recognizes (“Blessed are you…blessed is the fruit of your womb”) Mary’s miraculous conception. Elizabeth is divinely inspired to exalt Mary as “the mother of my Lord.” Mysteriously, Mary’s voice is heard by John the Baptist, still three months away from brith in Elizabeth’s womb, and causes John to leap with joy.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ even in the earliest stages of gestation in Mary’s womb has a powerful impact on Elizabeth and the unborn John. Divine King, Christ’s presence causes Elizabeth to be the first to recognize Mary’s Queenship (in ancient Jewish culture, the mother of the king was queen). Divine Prophet, Christ inspires mysterious connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) While the beautiful devotion of the Rosary has been prayed in some form for 1000 years, the key parts of the “Hail Mary” (“Hail Mary, full of Grace..”, “Blessed are you among women…”) are from words in Luke’s Gospel. Be awed that words uttered by angels and saints in awe of Christ 2000 years ago are repeated today.

2) Scripture is a miraculous gift from God that has the ability to inspire men to grow in awe and devotion to Christ Jesus. During Advent, make a commitment to draw closer to Christ by the disciplined weekly study of Scripture, guided by the tradition of the Church.

3) Though often hidden behind the scenes in the Gospel, St. Joseph had a powerful impact on both Christ and Our Lady. During Advent when Joseph’s role is partially highlighted, grow in your devotion to the foster father of Our Lord, St. Joseph.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful