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Theotokos: 4th Week of Advent
“Mary … was with child” (Luke 2:5)
Mary “was with child”. Thus, the Theotokos would have had quite a 90-mile pilgrimage to Bethlehem. According to basic gynecology, traveling would have created disproportionate pressure on the pelvic area creating lower back discomfort. Without a chair to support her lower back, the constant swaying from the donkey’s rhythm increased movement in her torso, further intensifying her aforementioned discomfort. As pregnancy matured, Mary’s stomach shrunk, holding less food; however, in the womb, Jesus used much of Mary’s nutrients. Holding less food, but sharing more of it with her son, Mary’s body had less energy, craving 20% more rest.
However, because of the journey—the sun, the dust, and the donkey—Mary couldn’t get the rest she desired. Mary’s journey wasn’t easy—it was anything but easy. Mary experienced ordinary discomfort like any ordinary pregnant woman would have on such a journey. Yet, Mary “was with child” and she knew who that child was. Throughout her journey, especially when the discomfort intensified, she placed her hands on her womb and was reminded that God was with her. Her discomfort may have been like the discomfort of any ordinary pregnancy; however, Mary knew God was in the ordinary.
Most of our life is ordinary—especially this time of year. We sit in traffic. We wait in long lines at department stores. We clean our house for the holidays. Most life is not flashy it is just rather ordinary. The truth is that God is with you—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Yes, God is with you, even in the ordinary. Take some time and ask Mary to describe the ordinary truths of her trip to Bethlehem.
For your prayer
Mary and Joseph would have often prayed with Psalm 33. Begin by slowly reading Psalm 33. Read it a few times. Consider how often Mary would have prayed this Psalm. Ask God to guide your prayer today. Now, prayerfully imagine the scene in Luke 2:5. Be in the scene. Be with Mary and Joseph as they journey to Bethlehem. Be with Mary as she is on the donkey. What was she thinking? What was she feeling? Ask her to show you her journey to Bethlehem.
“Father, I long to taste your presence in my ordinary life. I beg you to open my heart so that I may do all things, even ordinary things, with you.”
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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015