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A Most Joyful Visit


“To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched — along with body — making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.” ~ Anne Christian Buchanan

We wrap up the Marian Month of May in a most appropriate way, courtesy of the celebration of the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Daily Rosarians will be quick to point out that the Visitation is the second of the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. In fact if you were to describe this encounter between Mary and her older cousin Elizabeth in one word, ”joyful” might very well be your word of choice. Elizabeth cries out with joy when she hears Mary’s voice. The child, John the Baptist, leaps for joy in her womb. And of course Mary shares in her Magnificat Moment that her spirit “rejoices” in the Lord (Luke 1:47).

With all the recent drama and hand-wringing surrounding the leak of the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision, which appears poised to overturn Roe v Wade, it’s rather noteworthy to point out that the first person to recognize Jesus in today’s Gospel was an unborn child, who as noted leapt with joy in the womb of Elizabeth her Mother (Luke 1:41). John the Baptist’s life outside the womb, his death too, would be a continuation of his zealous joy in Jesus

As Saint John Paul II observed of our Blessed Mother, “When at the Visitation, she bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a “tabernacle.” The first tabernacle in history, in which the son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth,radiating his light as it were through the eyes and the voice of Mary.” This scene was clearly more than merely a joyous family reunion. It is two sisters in the Lord rejoicing as God is working miraculously through them.

Through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Mary is filled with courage and grace and freely gives her yes to God. Elizabeth in turn welcomes young Mary into her home. By following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth confirms Mary’s identity as a blessed daughter of God and Mother of the Lord, all the while affirming her obedience, a virtue prevalent amongst every servant of God

As astounding as Elizabeth’s pregnancy is, Mary’s is even for more miraculous and far greater in order of grace. Mary’s first instinct is to serve, in this case her much older cousin. The Holy Spirit is the great sanctifier. It shapes and molds us into the men and women we are meant to be. The saints we are called to be. In the case of our Blessed Mother Mary, the God-bearer and Queen of Heaven she was destined to be.

The Holy Spirit is the caress of infinite love, the first gift of God. It resides in our soul by way of God’s grace. Charity is at the root of receptivity of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We must ask for an increase in the gift of charity so that we may mirror our Mother Mary. “In charity,” Pope Saint Clement I once said, “all the elect of God have been made perfect.”

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Just as Mary went in haste to the hill country (Luke 1:39), in haste we too must go. God's good works are not to be hidden. Like Mary did with her cousin Elizabeth, may we be quick to unabashedly share with others the great things that the Almighty is doing in our lives. May we be charitable in our thoughts and actions too, putting others before ourselves. And May we imitate Mary in her faith. For as Elizabeth proclaimed so perfectly, “Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

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