Advent 2021


The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Are You Ready?

Mary and Elizabeth

The Fourth Sunday of Advent comes as a bit of a wakeup call: Christmas is almost here. Are you ready? Many of us are busy preparing our homes with trees, lights, gifts and food. Homes everywhere will soon be filled with friends, family and festivities. Yet as joyful as preparing for Christmas may be, it can also be filled with anxieties and fears. Are my gifts good enough?

What am I forgetting? There is always more to do than we have time for. Oftentimes we’re so busy preparing our physical dwelling places that we hardly have a quiet moment with the Lord to ask: “Is my heart ready?”

In the Gospel today we hear that as Mary prepared for the birth of Christ, she too was in haste as the moment approached. I imagine that Mary’s time with Elizabeth must have been a comfort. Elizabeth was someone who could prepare with her, who could anticipate what was going to happen alongside her and who could “get” her. Elizabeth could encourage Mary, perhaps when she needed it the most. She believed in Mary’s total trust that God’s word would be fulfilled in her. The Lord must have known that they needed each other for the special mission God entrusted to them. God prepared both of their bodies for that unique moment in time when they would bring forth life that would transform our world.  

As you await the birth of our Lord and prepare for Christmas this week, find a quiet moment to recall a friend or a mentor who accompanied you on your faith journey toward Christ. Or, perhaps there is someone in your midst right now whose faith and trust in the Lord you admire. Reach out and let them know—It just may be the perfect and most unexpected gift.    

Mother Maria Evangelista Fernandez , O.S.B., GRD '25

Mother Maria is a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis and is currently a student at Yale Divinity School.