Elizabeth recognises that Mary carries within her a child that is very special. Admittedly, seeing that the child is the Son of God, it is a completely unique situation, so perhaps we might even expect her to be able to sense something. I like to think that what Elizabeth sensed of Mary, namely that she was carrying within her womb the Christ child, should be true of us all. That is, when we come into the presence of others our faith in God should be so great that it is tangible to them in some sort of fashion.

 

I know this sounds as though I am putting a lot of pressure on Christians to manifest their faith without speaking a word, but it should be possible. People ought to be able to discern that we are men and women of faith even before we have told them that we are such. The way we live our lives – the compassion with which we relate to others, the charity we share with those in need, the time we spend with the lost and lonely and many other works of mercy and love, ought to reveal to anyone who knows us or sees us that we are Christians.

 

There is a hymn from the folk tradition of the 1960s that is titled, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” This is the truth. It is something we need to keep in mind as we make decisions as to how we live. There is little worse than a hypocrite – Jesus has no kind words for them in the Gospels – and so that is the thing we must seek to avoid. Let us ensure that we practice what we preach by living our faith to the full in every aspect of our lives. If all Christians made an effort to do this, the witness of the Church would be far more effective than it is because there would be no scandal and sin to deflect peoples’ attention from the Gospel proclamation.

 

Holy Spirit, help me to be inspired by the example of Mary’s uncompromising obedience to God’s will in her life. Let me always follow her example, and that of all the saints.