Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah.”

Luke 1:39

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Luke 1:39-56

The Gospel reading for the Feast of the Assumption is that of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. 

It is perhaps one of the most homely and intimate encounters, yet one filled with the ripples that will impact history. I wonder what it was like for Mary, having discovered recently that she is pregnant and that her cousin Elizabeth is also pregnant. Did she tell anyone? Perhaps her mother or both her parents. Imagine those conversations.

She seems compelled to be with her cousin, Elizabeth, who she knows must also be reeling with shock and wonder at what God is doing in her life. In part, she may have wanted to be there to help her cousin as she approached the end of her pregnancy. But, she probably also longed to spend time with someone she sensed would understand and would be able to help her understand the significant impact of the experience she has just had.

She makes the journey from Nazareth to Judah – probably on foot. One wonders who accompanied her on the journey. As she travelled, was she tired, perhaps suffering from morning sickness? What were her thoughts and feelings as she thought back over the encounter with God’s messenger? Was she afraid of what others would say or think? Was there a deep sense of joy and a longing to feel the baby moving in her?

Have there been moments when you have suddenly realised that your life has changed unexpectedly? Who was the person with who you most wanted to share that experience? 

Loving God,

At those moments of unexpected grace, When life is turned upside down, help me to find friends - spiritual companions to share the journey. Give me courage to take the next step.


Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. @annemariepc_c
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