Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 23, 2018)

In today’s Gospel, we experience Elizabeth proclaiming Mary to be blessed as the mother of Our Lord. St. Francis de Sales notes:

When Elizabeth proclaims Mary’s blessedness, Mary affirms that she is indeed blessed, for all her happiness comes from God. God looks at Mary in her lowliness and exalts her. Mary, in her humility, is in awe that God has made her the mother of Jesus.

A very exalted love of God and neighbor, as well as a profound humility, form a special union in Mary’s heart. Humility has Mary experience the immense and inexhaustible depth of God’s goodness. After experiencing the immensity of God’s love, she is aware of her littleness in the face of God’s loftiness. She immediately acts on her love for God, by saying: Let it be done to me as You say. In giving her consent to God’s will, she demonstrates the greatest charity conceivable. For at the moment she consents, the Divine Word takes on flesh. Infinitely graced, Mary desires God’s love for all.

As with Mary, our first fruit of the grace of God is humility. Humility has us experience the infinite love of God. At the same time, humility has us experience the limitations of our capacity to love God and others. While grace inclines us to the excellence of God’s divine love, humility has us see how God’s love profoundly purifies the heart before God and creatures. Like in Mary, God’s love, in us, has us love others.

What a good sign humility of heart is in the spiritual life! If we humble ourselves by giving our consent to God’s will in our life, we too can give birth in our heart to the Christ Child. To let go of our own willful desires is painful. Yet, to bring Christ to birth in our hearts is well worth trusting in God’s action in us. Our divine Savior, with our consent, will assuredly make us eternally blessed, and introduce us into eternal life.

(Sermons of St. Francis de Sales, L. Fiorelli, Ed.; Saint Francis de Sales, Oeuvres.)