Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Very First Christian Missionaries

In those days Mary arose and went with haste
into the hill country, to a city of Judah.
Luke 1:39
In the scriptures Mary is a person of action but not frivolity; she does not pursue activity for its own sake. Rather she acts with God at His prompt and pace. Why did Mary decide to go to the home of Elizabeth? Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, who had come upon her (Lk 1:35), unfolded the reason for the angel's reference to Elizabeth's pregnancy. Her state, as she considered what she should do was described by St. Peter Julian Eymard:
The Word was in Mary's womb. He inspired His Mother to visit Elizabeth; Mary carried to John his Master and King. John could not come, for his mother was too old to undertake that journey; Jesus Christ went to him. He did the same for us: we could not go to God; God came to us."
... This is the first Christian missionary journey undertaken for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Unborn Jesus initiates it, He and his mother go out prefiguring the missionary journeys initiated by Jesus, when He sent out first the twelve apostles and then the seventy disciples two by two (Mk 6:7 and Lk 10:1). Christians traveling on mission, in pairs, had not only a spiritual and psychological purpose, but also an ecclesiastical one; the two together are in communion one with the other, experiencing Christ's power acting through them and their different gifts and talents. In the case of pregnant Mary, here we have the quintessential communion, the epitome of communion with Christ. Two lives intertwine in the messianic mission and the world's greatest love.
Unborn Jesus Our Hope by George Peate
Now that is a concept that never occured to me for all that I have been used to the idea of thinking of Mary as the first Christian. I am already quite fond of the rosary mystery where Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. It may be my second favorite, right after the wedding at Cana. But this adds a whole new dimension for meditation. Wow!

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