'The child in my womb leaped for joy.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent, Year C


Master of the Hours of Maréchal de Boucicaut
Book of Hours of Maréchal de Boucicaut, 1405-08. Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris

Gospel Luke 1:39-45 (NRV – Catholic Ed., Can.)

In those days, Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

The Visitation, El Greco, 1610-13
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC

About eight years ago I celebrated Mass on the Feast of the Visitation in a home for girls where most come from a background of abuse. One girl of 16, whom I'll call 'Gloria', was pregnant. She was from another part of the Philippines and had been working in a restaurant and said that one of her co-workers was responsible. I wasn't quite sure to what extent the cause of the pregnancy had been consensual or whether the young man had taken advantage of the young woman. Perhaps there was an element of both.

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