This morning I was meditating on Joseph and Mary’s Advent journey to Bethlehem. So often, I think, we would like our own Advents to be peaceful and calm and balk interiorly–if not exteriorly as well–at inconveniences and grouchy children (and husbands), at interruptions and long lines, etc. And then there are those even more serious situations that we may be facing: the death of a loved one, possible foreclosure on our house, unemployment . . . When we think about what the journey to Bethlehem realistically consisted of, we might do well to join ourselves spiritually to Mary and Joseph in their journey, begging God to give us those same graces.
Here is an excerpt from Come, Lord Jesus–Meditations on the Art of Waiting, by Mother Mary Francis, published posthumously:
We think about our Lady on the way to Bethlehem. Do we really think deeply enough about what she suffered? And about Saint Joseph’s suffering? How do we think he felt to take her off in her condition of expectancy, riding the mule to Bethlehem? Her heart must have been tempted to question, “Why is this?” And surely his heart was tempted to question. Neither was supine; these were real people.
There are struggles asked of us, as were asked of them. And the answer is faith. We will see later on, of course, in the Scriptures, that it says very plainly that she didn’t understand what Jesus said to them after those three days’ loss. And she asked him, “Why did you do that?” Those words, in a sense, sum up her whole relationship with the Son of God, who was the Son of her womb. And he gives her an answer that she doesn’t understand at all. He says to all of us, in a different place in the Scriptures, “What I am doing you cannot understand now, but later you will understand.” That is a precious thought to hold in our hearts. How many times we say, “I just don’t understand this”, and he says, “One day you will understand.”
In the inevitable struggles of life–and the struggles of these special days–we don’t need to understand. We just need to respond, and then to hear him say, “One day you will understand. One day I will explain everything to you–except when that day comes, you won’t need to ask.” (pp. 103-104)