“The apostle Paul writes: With patient endurance we run the race of faith set before us. For what has more power than virtue? What more firmness or strength than patient endurance? Endurance, that is, for God’s sake. This is the queen of virtues, the foundation of virtue, a haven of tranquility. It is peace in time of war, calm in rough waters, safety amidst treachery and danger. It makes those who practice it stronger than steel. No weapons or brandished bows, no turbulent troops or advancing siege engines, no flying spears or arrows can shake it. Not even the host of evil spirits, nor the dark array of hostile powers, nor the devil himself standing by with all his armies and devices will have power to injure the man or woman who has acquired this virtue through Christ.”
–St. Nilus of Ancyra
The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
We remember that Jesus was “pre-born” at the moment of the Incarnation, that the Word became flesh when Our Blessed Mother assented to God’s plan, as she spoke to the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation. That feast, on March 25, predates today’s feast by nearly nine months.
We can try to imagine what those nine months were like for The Blessed Virgin, knowing that the Lord grew within her, was one with her. We can only begin to understand the patience she had to possess, looking forward to both the glory and joy of the divine birth.
We experience these same feelings—albeit to a lesser extent, no doubt—during this Advent season of preparation. We examine our lives, and look forward to the saving grace of our Lord, as mediated by Our Blessed Mother. While the Lord’s plan was first enacted at the moment Mary was conceived without sin, and made manifest to the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation, it was made evident to the world at the moment of the Nativity. Prior to that, Mary had seen and heard what others had not, and she had only one more week to anticipate the arrival of her son, Our Lord, the Redeemer of the World!
Our Blessed Mother was the original tabernacle, in which the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Saint Augustine wrote that Mary conceived the Word in her heart before she conceived the Word in her flesh—that as she anticipated the birth of Jesus, her faith grew simultaneously. The second Vatican Council declared that during the time of her pregnancy, the heart of the Incarnate Word beat gently below her Immaculate Heart: two immaculate hearts, beating silently and prayerfully as one.
We can imagine Mary’s nine-month journey as one of wonder and anticipation, but given the circumstances she found herself in, we also know of her difficult journey, the doubts of Saint Joseph, the anxiety that she must have experienced during that time. But Our Blessed Mother demonstrated not only patience, but also forbearance and deep trust in the Lord. She knew the road would not be easy—in fact, that her joy would almost certainly be linked to suffering throughout her life—but in hope and confidence placed her life in the Lord’s hands. As she prepared for the birth of Jesus, Mary emptied herself, allowing her body and soul to be filled with the grace and spirit of the Lord. During Advent, we pray for a similar experience, that we might approach the birth of Our Savior with hope and confidence.
Posted by Jacob
“Lord, help me to make time today to serve you in those who are most in need of encouragement or assistance.
— St. Vincent of Paul
Bible quote:
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another”  (Romans 12:10).
Rejoice, O Mary,
by whose mighty hand the Church hath victory
over her foes [every heresy] achieved,
since thou to Gabriel’s word of quickening power
in lowliness hast listened, and believed
— thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb
hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived,
and still, in heaven, of that virginity remainest
after childbirth unbereaved.
V. Blessed art thou that hast believed,
for there is a performance of those things
which were told thee from the Lord.
O God who didst will that Thy Word should,
by the message of an Angel,
take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
grant unto us, we beseech Thee,
that all we who do believe her to be in very deed
the Mother of God,
may be holpen by her prayers in Thy sight.


[resources: books of devotion]