I’ve discovered that whispering playful secrets ensures delight. I call my goddaughter close and speak only to her, parents and grandparents surrounding. She reels back in pure happiness, and returns an equally private thought. Even if no words are spoken, the hushed wisp of two little voices sharing anything deepens a bond of trust and friendship and invigorates the spirit. And, everyone wants in.

As Advent begins, let us not forget that God once whispered to Mary a quiet truth, a secret now revealed to all who want to hear. And in response, she rejoices. She delights. It is a secret which unlocks wisdom and offers strength, that heals the afflicted and brings justice to the poor, that unites once-enemies and raises the dead. If only we, who think we know everything and who lord over others, would hear it.

The secret is: I am here, and you are loved.

—Eric Immel, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He also serves as a Jesuit vocation promoter and is a prolific author.