Friday, May 31, 2013

A Reflection on the Feast of the Visitation

From MaryPages
Hail Mary
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation. According to the Gospel of Luke, after Mary discovers that her older cousin Elizabeth is with child, she makes haste to go see her (Luke 1:39-40). When Elizabeth greets Mary, the child her in womb (John the Baptist) leeps with joy. Subsequently, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaims to Mary, "blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." (Luke 1:42) That line should sound familiar because that is where we get part of the Hail Mary. Make note that the prayer is rooted in the Gospel. "When we say the "Hail Mary" we repeat these divine greetings, "rejoicing withMary at her dignity as Mother of God and praising the Lord, thanking Him for having given us Jesus Christ through Mary" (St. Pius X Catechism, 333).

Champion of Charity
I want to focus on two parts of the Visitation account. First, Mary's action in going to see her cousins despite that fact that she was entering the second trimester of her own pregnacy demonstrates the extent to which Mary lives a life of charity. The commentators of the Navarre Study Bible observe that "from Mary's visit to Elizabeth Christians should learn to be caring people." Furthermore, "if we have this filial contact with Mary, we won't be able to think just about ourselves and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind" (St. J. Escriva, Christ Is Passing By, 145). Simply said, Mary is our model of charity.

Seeing Christ in Others
The second observation I'd like to make is about the reaction of John the Baptist in his mother's womb. He leeps at the presence of Our Lord, also in His mother's womb. When I reflect on this Mystery of the Rosary, I often pray that God give me the grace to see Christ in all the others I will encounter that day. Once again, according to the Navarre commentators St. John Chrysostom makes this observation:
See how new andhow wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his actions [...]; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the prison of his other's womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the Savior is about to come" (Sermo Apud Metaphr., Mense Julio).