Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Advent

In the summer of 1921, while vacationing at her friend’s estate, Edith Stein picked up the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read the book all night. When she had finished the book, she said to herself, “This is the truth.” Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: “My longing for truth was a single prayer.” Perhaps we could describe the experience of Edith Stein as a “meeting” between two saints: Saint Teresa of Avila, and, a future saint, Edith Stein, who was later known as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

The Gospel reading today presents a story of a meeting between two pregnant saints, Mary the Mother of Jesus and her older cousin, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. This meeting is the moment of truth because Elizabeth knows Mary’s secret and confirms it to her that she is the Mother of God. As if Elizabeth is saying, “Mary, I have understood that you are bearing the Son of God. I will support you in your journey.” Mary is relieved because there is a person, who, without any need for explanation, understands her situation.

Like Mary, each of us has carried heavy burdens that we cannot talk about because people do not understand our problems or sorrows. But we could also experience our own “visitation,” when we meet someone who understands us.  Recall a moment when you seemed confused and overwhelmed but then later found someone to whom you could speak about the truth or help you to find the truth. Speak to God, as you would to a friend, about your burden or sorrow that you cannot talk about with others. What do you notice from your conversation with God? Do you feel that God understands you?

December 21st, 2016