“Be comforted, be comforted My people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for her sins. The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain shall be laid low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh together shall see that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.” Isaiah 40:1-5
1. For six months Mary was alone in Nazareth awaiting the birth of her Son. It is not difficult to imagine some at least of her thoughts during that half-year:
- She realized more and more what a stupendous act had been accomplished, that God, Who lived always in His own creation, had now come to live in it in a new and special way;
- That this could not but mean for all mankind a new and special source of grace and union with its God;
- That she had been chosen as the special means for this union, and for this communication of graces;
- That this was but the beginning of God’s new favours to men, what would be afterwards no one could fathom;
- That all this was the outcome of love.
2. Then there was the intense longing, the very agony of waiting. All nature had been groaning through the centuries for this manifestation, and had not known why. All the pagan world had become sick to death waiting for this “unknown God” Who would put an end to all their false worship. The chosen people had, many of them, grown weary with the delay, and had fainted on the roadside; the faithful among them had made “How long, O Lord, how long?” their constant prayer. Then we can well understand, though we cannot comprehend, the longing of Our Lady as she counted the months, the weeks and the days before her Son would be given to the world. And that longing was intensified by the fact that she was to be His Mother a fact which, perhaps, only a mother can rightly understand. “If our Lord’s presence in the womb had made the unborn Baptist leap for joy, what must have been the desire of Mary to take her own Child into her arms and press Him to her heart?”
3. And along with all this was the constant wonder how it was all to come about. He was to be born in Bethlehem; yet so far there was no prospect of this. It was to be God’s doing; therefore they would not take it upon themselves to interpret the prophecies. Suddenly the moment came; and, as always, emperors and kings were made to fulfill the will of God; the empire of Rome was made to “prepare the way of the Lord,” to “make straight the path for our Lord,” to send out its orders so that Mary might be brought to Bethlehem, and that her Son might be born in the circumstances that most became Him. We watch them on the journey, Mary and Joseph; their hardships and their gaiety of heart, their sorrows and their joys, their submission and their triumph, their weakness and their glory; while the Child Whom they bear with them longs for the moment when He, too, may begin His task of winning man by love.
Summary Meditation Points
1. The many thoughts, and following on them the many acts of the heart of our Lady during her six months of waiting.
2. Above all her great longing, being as it was the crowning longing felt in all Creation.
3. The way God commands the world to serve Him; and the sight of Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem.
Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peace” (1913).
Art: Am Abend vor Christi Geburt [On the Evening of Christ’s birth], Michael Rieser, 1869, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Mirror of Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., www.stmaryscadoganstreet.co.uk, all rights reserved, used with permission.