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Becoming Hastily Patient


Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.” ~ Matshona Dhliwayo

In today’s 1st Reading (1 Samuel 2::1, 4-5, 6-8), man’s salvation story continues to be slowly woven together as we revisit Hannah, a faithful and resolute woman who, upon finally bearing the son that she prayed so ardently for, in turn gives him to the Lord. Samuel would grow up to become a righteous and prodigious prophet, going on to become the leader of the Israelites. He would ultimately give way to David, who would of course give way to Jesus, the Savior of the World whose birth we will joyfully celebrate in a matter of days.

A few days ago, we read Matthew’s account (1:1-17) of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ More than merely a history lesson or an exercise in trivia, this passage reminds us that God paint his masterpiece slowly, seeking our voluntary cooperation despite having no need for it. Such is his love for us. “Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue,” said Saint Agnes of Rome. “I belong to Him whom the angels serve.” Beautiful sentiments as we reflect on God’s goodness during this most holy of seasons.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 1:46-56), our Blessed Mother Mary proclaims herMagnificat . I turn once again to Bishop Barron who so eloquently summarizes this moment by explaining that “Mary announces here that her whole being is ordered to the glorification of God. Her ego wants nothing for itself; it wants only to be an occasion for giving honor to God.” But as he goes on to point out, God needs nothing. Therefore whatever glory Mary gives to God in fact returns to her. She is in essence magnified in the very act of magnifying God. “In giving herself away fully to God,” Bishop Barron concludes, “Mary becomes a superabundant source of life; indeed, she becomes pregnant with God.”

Our souls too were made to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Pope Paul VI, one of the newer members of the Communion of Saints, was always quick to point out that “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” There are of course many who, over time, have tragically rejected Christ’s salvific message. This should come as no surprise nor should it discourage anyone who seeks to evangelize. François-Marie Arouet, better known by his nom de plumeof Voltaire, was notorious for takingThomas Aquinas to task for having dared to say that he wished all the world were Christian, accusing him of being “intolerant.” But for Aquinas, that was akin to accusing him of wanting all men to be happy. As such, he persevered...all the way to sainthood.

Although the quote I chose to kick off today’s Reflection was selected primarily in support of today’s 1st Reading, it applies to our evangelical efforts as well. We must patiently persevere, allowing the gifts of the Spirit to flourish within ourselves and those we encounter in the fullness and richness of time. In God’s time.

Two days ago we had the opportunity to “revisit” the Visitation, that great moment in our salvation history wherein our Blessed Mother set out in haste to the hill country of Judah to both assist and evangelize her older cousin Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s spouse Zachariah. We too are called to evangelize with a sense of urgency but to leave the results of our labor in the hands of God.

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In tomorrow’s 1st Reading (Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24), the Prophet Malachi tells us that the Lord will come “suddenly.” We don’t know when, no ones does (Matthew 24:36), but we’re told that when Jesus comes again, it will indeed be sudden. This underscores the aforementioned sense of urgency that each of us must assume with regard to our evangelical efforts. For although it is true that God works on His own timetable, the Gospel is only good news if it arrives in time.

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