“The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.”

Luke 1:44

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Luke 1:39-56

In a world without modern means of communication like WhatsApp and email, we don’t know whether Elizabeth knew that Mary was coming or that she knew Elizabeth was pregnant. It was the angel who had told Mary: “Your cousin Elizabeth who was called barren, is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.” (Luke 1:36)

When Mary arrives at the home of Elizabeth and Zachariah and greets Elizabeth, something happens in the heavily pregnant Elizabeth. The child in her womb “leaps for joy.” She recognises that Mary is pregnant and that there is something special about the child she is carrying. She also recognises who Mary is carrying, becoming the first person to witness that Mary is pregnant with the Messiah (just as later Mary Magdalene becomes the first witness to the resurrected Lord).

In the dialogue, we witness both women speaking powerful words of affirmation. Elizabeth blesses God, who keeps his promises. And in response, Mary echoes Hannah’s song from the Old Testament. She celebrates the upside-downness of God’s ways. Oppression will not have the final word because God is doing something utterly revolutionary. And it is taking place already as she, an unknown, young, powerless girl from a backwater village, carries within her the one who will save the world. In the new order of things God will bring about, the hungry will be fed, the poor and the lowly raised. In their pregnancies – the one heralding the other – a new reality beyond imagining is being birthed.

Where in your life or your community do you see God doing the impossible?

Like Mary and Elizabeth, how are you being called to be part of God’s revolutionary vision?

Creative God,

In the pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary You invite us to live, In a revolutionary way. Not seeking power or riches, But seeking to make room within us For your vision to be born. Help us to live that vision to bring about a reality free of oppression in which the poorest and most marginalised are fed and raised up.


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.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
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