Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin (May 31st)

Sometimes less fully catechized Catholics confuse the Annunciation with the Visitation. They are two separate events. During the Annunciation the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary and announced that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ--Gabriel came to "announce". During the visitation, Mary came to help her older cousin Elizabeth during the later part of her pregnancy--Mary came to "visit"


The Holy Gospel according to Luke 1: 39-55

During those days 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 14 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 15 that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."  
And Mary said: 16 "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;  
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.  
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.  
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,  
according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
You know what is really cool? In that section of the gospel is where Catholics derive two of my very favorite Catholic prayers, the Hail Mary and the Magnificat.
"Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus..." See? That is nothing more than what Elizabeth said to her younger cousin when the child within her womb leapt for joy, as John recognized his Savior, Jesus Christ. The Hail Mary is one of the prayers Catholics pray during our Rosary--it is not a spell or incantation, it is a prayer. 
Greg Erlandson says this about the Magnificat
"The Visitation is also the occasion for Mary’s great prayer, the Magnificat. This prayer is treasured by a wide variety of Catholics because it is an eloquent articulation of the Catholic belief in the dignity of all people and the Gospel injunction to help the weakest among us, uniting the pro-life and social-justice wings of our sometimes divided Church.
This May 31, pray for all women who are struggling with pregnancies. Pray that God gives them strength to protect the life they bear in their wombs. And while you are at it, make a donation to an aid organization that provides assistance to unwed mothers."

Two women, both of them endangered by the tiny lives they carried within their wombs, Elizabeth who was advanced in years and Mary, unwed in a society who stoned women for adultery. Courage. Faith. Love.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful when making your comments. I will remove any comments deemed by the editorial staff(me) as inappropriate. Even if you don't have a specific comment about a story, feel free to tag the the comment box.
Thank you for visiting and have a peace filled day!