Lectio Divina: Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year C

on 16 Dec, 2021
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My Lord, in your presence we want to prepare our hearts for this moment of prayer. Send us your Holy Spirit to enlighten us, open our minds and hearts to everything you want to say to us today; so that this prayer increases our faith in the love of God, and we will know how to give ourselves with love and without reservation to the mission. Create silence in us to hear your voice. Thank you, Lord, for feeding us with your Word.


"See with the eyes of the heart, what the text says" Luke 1, 39-45

“In those days, Mary set out on her way and went with haste to the mountainous region, to a city in Judah; she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child in her womb leaped for joy, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb; And from where did the mother of my Lord come to see me? Because as soon as the voice of your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the things that were told to her by the Lord would come true! "

… A moment of prayerful silence so that the Word of God can enter into us and illuminate our lives. 


The evangelist, describing the departure of Mary towards Judea, uses the verb anístemi, which means to get up, to move. Considering that this verb is used in the Gospels to indicate the resurrection of Jesus or material actions that involve a spiritual impulse; We can suppose that Luke, with this expression, wants to underline the vigorous impulse that leads Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to give  the Savior to the world. The Gospel text also refers to Mary making the journey "promptly" (Lk 1,39). Also, the expression "to the mountainous region" (Lk 1,39), in the Lucan context, is much more than a simple topographical indication, since it allows us to think of the messenger of the good news described in the book of Isaiah: "What beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation! "

The Christian message is one of joy and, in that atmosphere of joy, today's lectio gives us a gift: first, an attitude; second, a fact.

Attitude is service. A service, that of Maria, performed without hesitation. Mary, says the Gospel, went quickly, and that despite being pregnant and running the risk of falling into the hands of bandits along the way. She gets up and go, no excuses, it was without delay. Courage of a woman! The brave women in the Church are like the Virgin; they get up and serve. Service is a Christian sign, service with joy; that's the attitude to underline. 

The fact is the meeting between Maria and her cousin. These two women meet and do it with joy; That moment is quite a party! If we could learn this service of going out to meet others, how the world would change! The meeting is another Christian sign. Both the service and the encounter require going out of oneself: going out to serve and going out to find, to embrace another person. The Lord is in the service, the Lord is in the encounter.


"Letting ourselves be penetrated by the Word, questioning our life in the light of the Word"

"As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the creature jumped in her womb, and Elizabeth, full of the Holy Spirit, exclaimed with a loud voice: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (vv. 41-42).

This episode shows us, above all, communication as a dialogue that is intertwined with the language of the body. Indeed, the first response to Mary's greeting is given by the child jumping joyfully in Elizabeth's womb. Exulting in the joy of the encounter is, in a sense, the archetype and symbol of any other communication that we learn even before we come into the world. The maternal womb that welcomes us is the first "school" of communication, made of listening and bodily contact, where we begin to become familiar with the external world in a protected environment and with the reassuring sound of the beating of the mother's heart. This encounter between two beings at the same time so intimate, although still so strange to each other, is a meeting full of promise, it is our first experience of communication.

After arriving in the world, we remain in a "bosom", which is the family. A bosom made of diverse people in relationship; the family is the “place where you learn to live together in difference” (Evangelii gaudium, 66). And the broader the range of these relationships and the more diverse the ages, the richer our living environment. It is the bond that grounds the word, which in turn strengthens the bond.

The experience of the bond that "precedes" us makes the family also the context in which that fundamental form of communication, which is prayer, is transmitted. Thus, most of us have learned in the family the religious dimension of communication, which in Christianity is impregnated with love, the love of God that is given to us and that we offer to others. What makes us understand in the family what communication truly is as a discovery and construction of proximity is the ability to embrace, support each other, accompany each other, decipher the looks and the silences, laugh and cry together, between people who have not chosen each other and that, however, are so important to each other. Reducing the distances, going out to meet each other and welcoming each other, is a reason for gratitude and joy: from the greeting of Mary and the leap of the child, Elizabeth's blessing flows, which is followed by the beautiful song of the Magnificat, in which Mary praises God's plan of love for her and her people. From a "yes" pronounced in faith, consequences arise that go far beyond ourselves and spread throughout the world. "Visiting" involves opening the doors, not closing in on oneself, going out, going towards the other.

Some questions to help us in meditation and prayer.

  • What is the cause of the joy of the two women?
  • Mary and Elizabeth lived strong experiences of God and shared them with each other. Are our communities living spaces that allow us to share and celebrate the experience of God that each one lives? Do encounters like this help us to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in the community?
  • What lesson does today's Gospel teach us for our Christmas experience?


"I speak to the Lord, I listen to the self of Jesus and myself to reach an intimacy of love"

Mary, woman of listening, open our ears; let us know how to listen to the Word of your Son Jesus among the thousand words of this world; make us know how to listen to the reality in which we live, each person we meet, especially those who are poor, needy, in difficulty. "Holy Virgin Mary, fill our hearts with the divine Spirit that fills yours."

Mary, woman of decision, enlighten our minds and hearts, so that we know how to obey the Word of your Son Jesus, without hesitation; Give us the courage to decide, not to let ourselves be dragged so that others guide our life. "Holy Virgin Mary, fill our hearts with the divine Spirit that fills yours." 

Mary, woman of action, make our hands and feet move "without delay" towards others, to bring the charity and love of your Son Jesus, to bring, like you, the light into the world. "Holy Virgin Mary, fill our hearts with the divine Spirit that fills yours."


"Enter into the light that the Word has left in my mind and look at Jesus with peace and love, with silence and gentleness"

Visualizing the image of the Visitation, we listen to the song "Sales Presurosa": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wqCgmwac_Q


Live today with the resolution to serve, out of love, the people with whom I live.

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Lectio Divina - 19-12-2021 eng Download