The Three secrets of the Mother of Hope

The liturgical time of Advent is the preparation for the coming of the Lord. In particular, from the 17th to the 24th of December, the figure of Mary is emphasized, so that the Church can “consider the ineffable love with which the Virgin Mother waited for her Son”, take it as a model and thus prepare us to go to meet the Savior who comes (Marialis Cultus, 4).



A pregnant woman lives for her child, she is totally focused on the other one who is already there and who is coming. Even before the moment of conception by the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary lived immersed in God, having “conceived first in the heart than in the womb” (St. Augustine).

Like Mary, we too can conceive God within us, in our heart, through faith. In fact, to the woman who exclaims: “Blessed is the womb that bore you”, Jesus replies: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11: 27-28). In this way, the Lord not only clarifies the most profound reason for Mary’s greatness and bliss but offers his listeners, including us, the possibility of conceiving Christ in our hearts and cultivating our interior life.



From the cultivation of the interior life, desire is born, which is “the most intimate recess of the heart. The more our desire dilates our hearts, the more we will be able to welcome God” (St. Augustine). Mary lived in intimate contact with the Holy Scriptures and gathered in herself the expectation of the whole people of Israel in a more ardent aspiration and in total availability to the reception of the One whom all the prophets and kings desired (see Lk 10, 24). In Her, “Daughter of Zion par excellence”, the Lord himself dwells in Her, and through Her takes place the coming of the King (see Zac 9: 9).



We know well, and the liturgy of Advent reminds us, that as soon as we learn of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Mary hurries to serve her. Mary’s visit to her relative, however, does not mean simple physical help. Elizabeth recognizes in her the “Mother of the Lord” and is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary carries in her womb “the hope of Israel and the expectation of the world”, and becomes “the image of the future Church which, in her womb, carries the hope of the world through the mountains of history” (Spe Salvi, 50).

On the other hand, in that visit, Mary herself is confirmed in her faith through the inspired words of Elizabeth: “Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1, 45). In fact, when we bring hope to others, when we bring Jesus to others, through our gaze, our smile, our words, our help, we ourselves are built up and grow in faith.

Let us look, therefore, at the Star of Hope, to reach Jesus! We do not turn our eyes from away from its splendor, we look at it to reach our goal.

By Elica Melo


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