Advent Benedictine Spirituality Gospel Holy Spirit Lectio Divina Psalms Scripture Uncategorized Visitation

New songs for uncertain times

Photo by Miguel Orós on Unsplash

Today’s gospel, the visitation, is one of my favourites. I’m always touched by the encounter of these two women as they both face unexpected and uncertain circumstances. I’m struck by Mary’s courage as newly pregnant she sets out on a dangerous journey to visit her cousin.

I’m touched by Elizabeth’s wisdom and insight as she faces the fulfilment of a dream she had given up on. In the midst of so much uncertainty their encounter is a powerful witness to the reality of love, hope and trust. Full of joy and the Holy Spirit Elizabeth cries out:
“Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Her words bring me back to the responsorial psalm:
“Ring your joy to the Lord, O you just; O sing him a song that is new.”

In their challenging, and uncertain circumstances Mary and Elizabeth were able to sing out their new song full of hope and courage. We’re living through uncertain times ourselves, more challenging than I’ve ever known or could have imagined.

We can’t ignore or underestimate the effect that has on us. Yet, like Mary and Elizabeth, even in those circumstance we are called to live with hope and trust. We are called to discover and sing our new song to the Lord, even if it is tentative and uncertain, carrying tears and laments as well as joy.

What new song are you called to sing this Advent?

Benedictine Spirituality Eastertide Gospel Prayer Scripture Uncategorized Visitation

Renewed by Love

Image by suju-foto from Pixabay

Celebrating the feast of the Visitation I’m being drawn to these words from the prophet Zephaniah:

“The Lord your God is in your midst… He will exalt with joy over you, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.”

I was a little surprised that these were the words that drew me. The quickest of glances at the daily News brings a sharp reminder that whatever direction we look in there is little to inspire joy or hope. So I turned to the gospel. The beautiful encounter of Elizabeth and Mary as they delighted in the discovery of God’s presence deep within them echoed Zephaniah’s words.

Their joy and delight were real and transforming, yet that did not mean their circumstances were easy, comfortable or safe. They both knew suffering, individually and as part of a persecuted community. They both had lives that could be precarious, uncertain and even dangerous. Yet, they could still recognise and respond to the transforming, renewing love of God.

It seems to me that to respond to God’s love in uncertain times is both an act of courage and of faith. Even if we can’t feel it, or see it, God’s love is with us, renewing us whatever we face. Even when joy and hope seem impossible God rejoices in each one of us.

Where is God asking you to allow yourself to be renewed by God’s love today?