A Catholic Monthly Magazine

The Word is Alive!

By Fr Gerard Whiteford SM

The season of Advent begins in the last week of November. As we journey deeper into Advent two persons more and more take over centre stage, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and his cousin John. In Western Christianity John is known as the Baptist; in the Orthodox tradition John is known as the Forerunner. This is portrayed in the iconography – the West has John baptising, the Orthodox has John preaching. Now just before you do a Google search of images to prove me incorrect, the two complement one another!

John and Mary might provide useful images for us to reflect on over Advent days before we celebrate Christmas. Certainly, we are encouraged to preach and proclaim by word and deed as was the responsibility of John; however, Mary too offers us insight. Before she gave birth, Mary carried the Word made flesh in her womb. Within the womb, Mary provided a safe place to grow, provided nutrients that nourished the growing Word, and in turn Mary was disturbed by the Word! Yes, the newly formed and growing child disturbs the mother, especially when said child decides to enter the Olympic triple jump competition at 3am! For all the disturbance the mother is assured of one thing – my baby is alive!

Woman in Orange by Faustine Badrichani (1984)
Badrichani is a French Artist based in New York

The metaphor, I suggest, is rich for exploration – before we utter a word of proclamation, that word needs to be preceded by an interior disturbance. We need to allow the Word to leap and jump around inside us. Then we will know that the Word being spoken is alive!

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