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Theotokos: 4th Week of Advent
“all went to be enrolled, each to his own city” (Luke 2:3)
The decree did not simply affect Mary and Joseph, it affected everyone, for “all went to be enrolled.” The news of the census sent shock waves throughout all of Galilee. Nazareth would have quickly frenzied as anxious pilgrims hastily prepared to journey “to his own city.” Again—once again—Mary found herself swaddled with questions. When was her baby due? How long would it take to get to Bethlehem? Would they make it to Bethlehem in time? Joseph too had questions. Could Mary’s body handle the journey? Where would they stay once they arrived? Would his meager savings be enough for the census tax plus the journey there and back? The census didn’t simply present a convenient answer for Micah’s Messianic prophecy (Micah 5:2), it presented Mary and Joseph with penetrating questions demanding further trust and absolute dependency. The journey to Bethlehem demanded everything.
Sometimes Divine intimacy calls us to places we don’t want to go. Sometimes we wonder, “God, I’ve given you so much already, do you want everything?”
The answer is … yes, God does want everything. But, remember, God seeks intimacy. But, if the essentials for intimacy are complete self-donation and unbridled receptivity, then that’s a two-way street. If God requires your complete self-donation then He’s prepared to give you His complete Being. If God requires unbridled receptivity then He desires to receive all of you. God requires everything so that He can give us everything. The stretching we feel “in the everything” is so that we are more able to receive everything He wants to give us. Spend some time with Mary and Joseph. Ask them how they surrendered everything.
For your prayer
Mary and Joseph would have prayed with the Book of Genesis. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Genesis 22:1-19. Use your spiritual senses and imaginatively pray with Mary and Joseph in Luke 2:3.
“Father, I desire to taste just how much you want me. I give you permission to lead me wherever you want so that I may give you everything."
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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015