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Mary—the ideal Advent figure

By Kenwyn Sylvester, seminarian

On this fourth Sunday of Advent the Church invites us to enter deeper into the season by looking at a person who gave her entire body for the coming of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

She is the prototype, the finished product of what it means to have prepared for God’s coming to us, and so acts as the ideal Advent figure, “the one who waits with, and for, the Lord’s coming”.

Our Advent preparation of prayer and soul-searching took us through many themes: hope in the midst of despair; preparation for the coming of the Lord; and growing expectation which sparks joy in our hearts. All of these should bring us to the point of action – repentance.

This helps us to open ourselves more and more to the God who approaches, the One who wants to inhabit us. Mary gave her body so that the Saviour of the World would come.

We are invited to revere her by faithfully emulating her life. Some key features of her way of being are faith, openness and generosity. Are we up for the challenge this Advent? To enter into deeper preparation with our Mother?

With respect to faith, Mary believed beyond reason that God’s word to her would be fulfilled (cf Lk 1:44). We are encouraged to be like her as we offer our struggles, problems and situations (such as unemployment) to God, having faith that these prayers would be heard by the Lord who draws near to us in our difficulty.

Mary was open to God by responding “Let it happen to me as you have said” (cf Lk 1:38). May our openness to God be seen in the attitude adjustment we make this Advent, sharing words of love and affirmation to those who are ostracised in our family and workplace.

Her generosity is seen as she left in haste to serve Elizabeth. May we show generosity to our fellowmen as we give of the little we have to help those less fortunate in our midst.

Let us in the coming days pray the Angelus and meditate on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary with our family.