“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!” – Sg. 2:10

The story of the Visitation is such a rich encounter. I imagine that Mary had a myriad of thoughts and questions flowing through her mind about her recent angelic experience as she journeyed to her cousin’s. What must have Elizabeth thought as she realized the importance of her visitor and reverently exclaimed, “How does this happen that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” And what was it that John understood when he heard Mary’s voice that caused him to leap for joy?

I often find myself at Mass just going through the motions, distracted by the busyness and chaos of life. What would happen if I could turn off that noise to be present and focus on what is unfolding before me? What would go through my mind, my understanding? Would I, as John, leap for joy at being in the presence of Christ? As I approach the altar to receive communion would I share in Elizabeth’s reverence as I realize that the Lord has come to me through the Body and Blood? How different my experience of Mass would be if I believed as Mary believed!

Every time we attend Mass we have our own opportunity for a rich encounter with Christ. This Advent, may we approach Mass with a deeper awareness of Christ’s presence. May we humbly receive His gift of communion. As in today’s first reading in the Song of Songs, Christ calls to us today. “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!”

Heavenly Father, fill me with your grace and joy. Guide my understanding that I may see the true beauty in the gift Mass. Amen.