Thursday, December 21, 2006

21 December
Call of Lover and Beloved

Readings: Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Psalm 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21; Luke 1:39-45

It’s a beautifully moving and consoling image that the first reading from the Song of Songs presents us today. The Lord comes for us like the lover for his beloved. Like a sure-footed stag, he bounds effortlessly over all obstacles, even as around him the winter snows melt in the gentle rays of the sun. He peers into the clefts of the cliff wherein his beloved has been hiding and calls to her in the most intimate terms of endearment, inviting her to follow him out of the dreary darkness of winter into the light and life of spring.

Yesterday we saw this poetic image mirrored in the Annunciation, when the Divine Stag called in the voice of an angel to his bashful people represented by the Virgin Mary. And today we see yet another mirror image of the call of the Lover for his beloved. This time the Lord overcomes all obstacles through the generosity of the Virgin who bears him in her womb. Having herself been called, Mary sets out, goes quickly to her cousin and greets her. And Elizabeth and her as yet unborn son are, in their turn, called out into the joyful freedom of the Spirit. We know, of course, that the cycle will continue in the ministry of the adult John the Baptist, who will help to prepare the way, to call others out into the light of the coming Lord.

As we listen to these beautiful readings, it is more than likely that we will be reminded of how the cycle of calling and being called has been and continues to be played out in our own lives. We will be moved to gratitude for the times in the past when God has, through various people and events, called us from darkness into the light. We will be joyful too for the times when we’ve responded generously, allowing ourselves to be God’s heart and hands, his feet and voice, calling others into life.

How does our Divine Lover wish to continue to do this for us today? And what is our response?

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