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The Visitation Revisited


“Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.” ~ Izaak Walton

The Catholic Church in her wisdom uses these few remaining days leading up to Christmas Day to revisit the Joyful Mysteries of our faith. Yesterday’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38) took us back to the Annunciation of the Lord Today’s Gospel will reflect upon Mary’s fateful trip through the hill country to the town of Judah, where she would enter the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who was pregnant in her own right This Friday of course marks the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, or Christmas. In the days and weeks to follow, we’ll commemorate the Presentation of the Lord (Luke 2:22-40) as well as the finding of the Lord Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52).

With regard to the latter two events, it’s a great paradox of our Church that they would be counted amongst the five joyful mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary yet they also represent two of the Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother But that’s a topic for another day. For today, let’s reflect upon Mary’s visit with Elizabeth, looking in on two women who are on the precipice of giving birth to arguably the two most important men to ever walk the earth

As those of you who are familiar with the Visitation discourse know, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant in her womb, he who would go to become the man known as John the Baptist, leaped for joy. In his Daily Gospel Meditation, Bishop Barron likens this response to David’s dance before the Ark of the Covenant, his great act of worship offered up to the King of Kings. Elizabeth in essence is the first to proclaim the fullness and richness of the Gospel when she proclaims aloud “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Elizabeth goes on to ask “How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

In the Visitation, we see our Lady’s charity, made manifest and poured out by way of service. Saint Luke tells us that she went “in great haste to help her elderly cousin Elizabeth. In this respect, Mary takes a page from her Son’s book, for as Jesus said oftentimes throughout Scripture, “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.” Mary heralds this message in her visit with Elizabeth. This is a call for all of us to imitate.

In the Visitation, we witness an encounter marked with unbridled joy. As previously mentioned, John the Baptist leapt for joy from within the confines of Elizabeth’s womb.The source of this joy was of course Jesus. Mary brought joy to Elizabeth because she brought Jesus to Elizabeth. We all have that very same and very precious opportunity. By bringing Jesus to others, we too can spread joy. In this encounter, the Blessed Mother serves as the perfect model of evangelization. The purpose of Mary’s visit was not merely to assist her older cousin in her time of need. She went to Judah to preach the Gospel, to announce the conception of the word. Christ having become incarnate within her. To share the news of our Redeemer. We all need a redeemer.

May we too be filled with the gifts for the Holy Spirit in the same way that Mary was as we go forth proclaiming the arrival of our Redeemer. May Mary be our role model as we seek to bring the Gospel to those in need of its message.of hope and redemption. Bow more than ever this message must be lived and proclaimed.

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Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.” ~ Amen

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