“Most Blessed are you amongst women”
On this the Feast Day of the Visitation of the Blessed Mother, Mary sets off in haste to the hill country of Judah to visit her elderly pregnant cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56). It is here where the baby in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist, leaps for joy upon hearing the Blessed Mother’s voice. This is a great day to pause and reflect upon the important role that Mary plays in our salvation story, but it’s also a reminder of what a perfect role model she is for all of us as well.
Those who pray the Breviary before the Blessed Sacrament know that there is a prayer included in this powerful spiritual encounter that is said each time it is prayed, and it goes like this:
"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."
This may sound familiar in that it is Mary’s response after Elizabeth, a strong woman of faith in her own right, asks Mary “How should this happen to me? That the mother of my Lord should come to me?” That the future Queen of Heaven would serve as maid servant to her old cousin was indeed truly remarkable. Also remarkable was Mary’s complete unselfishness, juggling the all-consuming responsibility of giving birth to the Savior of the World while simultaneously tending to Elizabeth.
In today’s 1st Reading (Romans 12:9-16), Paul reminds us to pursue the faith with sincerity and strength. We look to Mary as our role model, but it’s easy to get discouraged, especially when we remember that our Blessed Mother is spotless, born without the stain and scourge of original sin, whereas we are not. sin’s impact on the world is immeasurable; it has truly robbed mankind of much.
But we must never give up. The devil wants us to quit, practically imploring us to do so at times. Many do. But we must stand strong and endure his onslaught, remembering that through Baptism and the cross we are born anew, children of God who are made to withstand and ultimately prevail. With regard to the cross, there is a reason that priests are armed with a cross during every exorcism. It is a reminder to Satan that it was through the cross that he was defeated. It is through the cross that he will be defeated once again upon Jesus’ glorious return (Acts 1:11).
Jesus could not return however if he had never been conceived by way of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s pristine womb however. So let us pause and give thanks to God in this day for the gift of our Blessed Mother. And in the words of Saint Anselm, “Let the soul of Mary be in each of us to magnify the Lord, and the spirit of Mary be in each of us to rejoice in God.”
For more in this most blessed if Feast Days, please revisit my other Meditations via the Links below: