Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."
And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."
Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
There are so many beautiful aspects to consider in this story. One which I have never considered before is the openness and faithfulness of Elizabeth. We, with the gift of hindsight, would think it natural for Elizabeth to rejoice at the visit of a pregnant Mary, yet at the time, Mary would still appear as a girl who had gotten pregnant before marriage.
For Elizabeth to welcome her and believe in her story of the Annunciation, despite appearances, would have been taken much grace, trust and faith. And because of her deep faith, we now have recorded one of the most beautiful canticles, and one of the rare moments in the Gospel in which Mary speaks.
May we learn to welcome Mary into our lives in the same spirit of faith, and trust as Elizabeth. For wherever Mary is, there is Jesus also.
Happy Feast of the Visitation!