We are all pregnant with Christ. Every day we have the opportunity to participate in bringing God’s love into the world. We can let that love grow in us and offer it to each person we encounter. When we nurture and share that love, we can say with Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

This means that we are constantly in the role of Elizabeth as well. Every person we meet is carrying Christ within them. Do we respond as Elizabeth did? Are we filled with joy when we encounter the people on the street, at work, or in our home? Do we speak words of affirmation and gratitude for their goodness?

Today, as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and continue our Advent preparation for the birth of Christ, we experience this wonderful scene between Elizabeth and Mary. Their overwhelming joy and love both encourage and challenge us to be more like them.

How are you allowing Christ’s love to grow in you? How are you responding joyfully to the people around you?

—Thomas Bambrick, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic in First Studies, studying philosophy at Fordham University, New York.

Note: Yesterday Pope Francis was named as TIME magazine’s Person of the Year (read more on our website). Here are lines from Pope Francis’ Wednesday Angelus address, given in preparation for today’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Mary’s embrace showed what America—North and South—is called to be: a land where very different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity….May the joy of the gospel be always in your hearts, and may Our Lady be ever at your side.”