In the skits we just saw played by Chris, Diane, Karen, and narrated by Anne-Marie, two great mysteries of our faith were represented: the Annunciation and the Visitation. These two mysteries are the first two the Church invites us to meditate upon, on Mondays and Saturdays, where Catholics are traditionally praying the five Joyful mysteries of the rosary.
Uniting these two key episodes of the Gospel is the central figure of Mary. Mary is the Mother of Jesus, thus the Mother of God. But she is also the first and perfect disciple of Christ. Indeed, discipleship is first and foremost a communion of heart with Jesus, and Mary lived that communion to the full. What her Son went through, she went through in her mother’s heart, just like no other.
As the number one disciple, Mary is also seen as the perfect image of what the Church is called to be, since the Church is the gathering of the disciples of Christ, united around their Lord and Savior, with the goal of becoming ever more Christlike. Which means that what concerns Mary concerns the Church and that what Mary does, the Church is called to do in turn. As disciple number one, Mary opens the way and we follow in her footsteps.
Let’s have a closer look at what Mary is doing, during these two famous episodes of the Infancy Gospel narrated by Luke. First, in the Annunciation, she is visited by the angel Gabriel and by God himself, who’s Spirit dwells upon her. Second, she is visiting her cousin Elizabeth and at the same time she brings Christ to her and to her preborn son, John the Baptist, who leaps in her womb.
In the first Joyful mystery, she welcomes the Lord in her life. In the second, she brings the Lord into someone's life. It is not exaggerated to say that these two key moments in Mary’s life illustrate and sum up the two fundamental aspects of the Christian life: receiving the gift of God, and sharing that same gift with others.
On the one hand, indeed, we are called to receive the gift of God through a spiritual and contemplative experience, that opens our eyes on the truthfulness of the Gospel message. On the other hand, we are called to actively engage in the Church’s effort to give access, to as many people as possible, to this same experience of discovering that God truly exists, that God truly loves us, that God truly saves us in Jesus Christ and restores us through the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit.
We can draw an essential lesson from the contemplation of these two mysteries.
If we want our Christian life to be meaningful and fruitful, first, we ought to allow God to visit us on a regular basis. We do so, first and foremost, when we commit and stick to our prayer time. Second, we ought to draw from that meaningful and joyful encounter with God the divine energy, the zeal, and the joy of visiting others on behalf of God, so as to give people a chance to see a glimpse of heaven, in the way we talk, behave and interact with others.
In these difficult times, where we all experience in one way or another, isolation, exhaustion or deprivation, we face more than ever maybe the double challenge of taking care of our loved ones and taking care of ourselves. This is our mission: to love our neighbours as ourselves. But how are we going to make sure not to fall apart, when the needs are so numerous around us and inside of us?
This is where we need to remember that the miracle of God who visits us, who comforts us, who strengthens us is always ready to happen.