Pick Up the Pace: Mary’s Example
Advent Reflection
Deacon Ron “Willie” Williams, St. John Neumann, St. Charles
December 16, 2021
I find great insight in St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, and in particular, his teaching on using our imagination when contemplating scripture. 
Like the process of Lectio Divina, we read the sacred text attentive for a word or phrase that “jumps out.” The Gospel for this fourth Sunday of Advent, the well-known “Visitation,” had a phrase that did more than jump out — it shot out like a firework. The phrase? “In haste.”
What might have been in our Blessed Mother’s heart to impel her to travel the hill country “in haste?” I reflected upon the event just before her departure. 
She was visited by the angel with a heaven-born mission and some personal news, “Your relative (cousin), Elizabeth, has also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month for her.”
So, again, why did Mary travel “in haste?” My contemplative imagination brought me to what may have entered Mary’s mind and heart: “Elizabeth is old and pregnancy is physically exhausting and nauseating; she must be struggling. She needs help. She needs me! And in my condition, I need her too.”
These imaginations led me to deeply appreciate our Blessed Mother’s compassion. Of course, she travelled “in haste” motivated by her servant’s heart to be Elizabeth’s handmaiden. It made complete sense to me, for she has moved “in haste” to bring me to her Son throughout my entire life. 
However, I confess that when service opportunities present themselves, I don’t always move “in haste” toward them. 
It’s sad to admit that I can procrastinate while I ponder my calendar, my interest, my time budget. My journey between the invitation and my “yes” can move in a slow-motion, cautious discernment. 
What might our Blessed Mother’s example teach you and me about our next call to serve? 
Perhaps, “Pick up the pace. Hurting souls are waiting.”
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