Mary was in these early days of pregnancy when she made the long journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Was her trip punctuated with potty stops? Did she find herself wishing for her own bed during the days she spent getting there?
However miserable Mary might have felt in her first trimester, she didn’t hesitate to serve. She knew Elizabeth, who was elderly, must need help. Beyond that, she provided an encouragement to her cousin that was probably worth far more than any of the cleaning or cooking she did during her three months in Judea.
Serving isn’t easy when you don’t feel well. It’s hard enough when you’re busy with your own life and juggling your own obligations, but insert physical hardships–even if it’s just not feeling 100 percent–and it becomes a huge hurdle. It takes extra effort to serve in any capacity, and that’s what Mary shows us.
She might have been throwing up every few hours, unable to keep anything down, without a taste for anything. She might have just longed for a nap. Elizabeth probably knew this, and more than likely encouraged Mary to rest. But I don’t think Mary made the arduous journey there and back only to let Elizabeth coddle her. I picture her reproaching Elizabeth for trying to do too much and taking over the household duties.
In Mary’s embrace of Elizabeth, I find an example of serving when I least want to, of expending extra effort for others, of giving in the most generous way. She gave, and in giving to Elizabeth she also gave to each of us. She shows us, quietly and without fanfare, what it is to joyously accept our vocation. Her joy overflowed in the Magnificat, despite discomfort and uncertainty.
Our joy can overflow too, no matter what hurdles we face. Maybe, like Mary, what we need to do is give ourselves to another in service.
As we pray this decade of the rosary, let’s hold all those brave women who have said yes to difficult and challenging motherhood in our intentions in a special way. Don’t forget, too, that we are praying for an increase in all respect life intentions as part of our rosary together this month. (If you’re not familiar with how to pray the rosary, you can find great resources at Rosary Army.) Let us pray:
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come,Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
|Squee! Sarah Reinhard & Shelly Kelly at the CNMC 2012.|
You can find a complete listing of the tour stops over at Snoring Scholar. And since I didn’t mention it above, be sure to enter to win a Nook (and any number of other goodies) each day of the tour over at Ave Maria Press.