Posted by: fvbcdm | December 19, 2011

Feast of Saint Mary di Rosa (15 Dec 2011)

If you’d like to make a sort of historical / geographical meditation for Advent, let’s follow the probable path of Our Blessed Mother on those two journeys of hers described to us by St. Luke in the first and second chapters of his gospel.  

One was just after the Annunciation, when the newly pregnant young girl set out from Nazareth in Galilee, that is, in the north of the Holy Land, and began her long trip on foot.  First, she would have gone down to the Jordan river valley near the place where the Jordan flows out of the Lake of Galilee and begins its course down to the Dead Sea in Judea.   There she would have found others of her people assembling to begin the southward trip down along the river valley.  It was cooler and more pleasant that way, the Jews could avoid passing through Samaria where there was anti-Jewish antagonism, and there was a ready supply of fresh water to refresh the travelers.  She might well have found some fellow-Nazareans among the group, and they would have made the trek south to near the city of Jericho.  Then they had to begin the tedious climb up into the arid hill country, gaining as they went some 2000 feet of altitude—not an easy journey.  

When she got to Jerusalem, she would no doubt have gone to pray in the Temple, probably keeping secret the beautiful truth that within her young body was the body of Him who would one day preach in that very Temple and cleanse it of unworthy activities there.  Then she would have looked for other travelers, since travel alone was dangerous, who were going farther south into the hill country where her relative Elizabeth lived with her husband Zachary.  Our Lady knew that Elizabeth was expecting a baby, who would be born in about three months, and she was coming to help Elizabeth prepare for the child’s birth.  Saint Luke in his first chapter gives us the exchange of conversation between Mary and Elizabeth.  It is the longest quotation of Our Lady in the entire gospels, and a very beautiful one.

Some weeks later, Elizabeth gave birth to Saint John the Baptist.  Our Lady returned to Nazareth.  In due time, she and her husband or engaged fiance set out again on this same trip south from Nazareth to go to register in Bethlehem, five miles south of Jerusalem, for the Roman census.  There, as we know, Our Divine Lord was born and began his life of the sanctification and redemption of the world. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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