Mary visits Elizabeth
Shout the good news far and wide! When you win something, or are given a gift of great significance the first thing you do is go and tell someone. We just simply desire to share good news and to do it in a spirited gratitude. We also should in turn celebrate with those who have received good fortune—a sense of charity.
Mary, after assenting to Gabriel’s message from God that she would bear the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, hastily went to visit her relative Elizabeth. She did this because Gabriel had made a promise that she would also bear a son in her old and barren state. The infant son that Elizabeth was carrying began spirited movements when Mary arrived. St Benedict termed this expansive movement of charity, joy, and gratitude as having “good zeal.”
These good zeal impelled Mary to take the Word to Elizabeth as swiftly as she could. This is a act of bearing Christ to another, to share that message. It is through zeal that baby John begins to react while inside of Elizabeth’s womb. Later in life, John the Baptist will point to Jesus as the Messiah and will embody zeal. A sense of good zeal towards others is highly contagious. This type of gratitude can grab a person and pull them near and within a circle of trust.
Because of this, zeal is fueled by the daily receiving of God’s grace, mercy, and love through Word, Sacrament, and the Living Tradition of the Church. Because of this gift that we each are given, we must then in return with GOOD ZEAL, share it to all that we encounter, and love others through the act of bearing and sharing Christ in every aspect of our life.
As we move closer to the birth of Christ, we should remind ourselves that the mission of sharing the good news and the charity that comes with it is something we are each called to do. AS St benedict says in the Rule for monastic living, “As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love” (Prologue: 49).
Shout for Joy, Christ is NEAR!