“God hugs you.” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. I would like to share an article with you that I read several years ago and think that it still is a good reflection of today’s feast:
Among the many Marian feasts, the feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth is one of the oldest. Midway between the Annunciation and the birth of Jesus we have the meeting of these two blessed women. This meeting has been especially cherished by the Church and has been a source of instruction through the ages. How many of us first learned the mysteries of our salvation in the Hail Mary, which includes Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary? The Visitation is the Second Joyful Mystery of the rosary.
As a sign that nothing is impossible with God, the angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that her aged cousin Elizabeth would bear a child. Mary hastened to be with Elizabeth, not to see if the revelation was true but because she knew it was true. She believed that the power of God could do anything, even the incomprehensible.
In their meeting the two women sensed the coming of salvation. The prophets foretold that the barren woman would bear children and the virgin would be with child. Among the people of the Hebrew Scriptures when a barren woman conceived and gave birth it was a sign of hope that the promise was all the nearer to being fulfilled. The visit of Mary to Elizabeth was the moment when the time of the promise passed into the time of fulfillment. The time of waiting had come to an end.
The two women were bursting with joy and yet were in awe that the promise was being fulfilled. God had chosen them, ordinary Jewish women, to be part of God’s plan. As we have heard many times before, even the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy.
This beautiful story of Mary visiting Elizabeth can encourage us to share our journeys of faith, not in a dramatic or ostentatious way but in the simple coming together as family and fellow believers. We tend to want to discuss every other aspect of our daily lives but we shy away from sharing our faith. A common lament among parish communities is that it takes a flood, fire, or spaghetti supper to bring us together. Elizabeth inspires us to speak out about the ways God is working in our lives.
Our faith, if it is genuine and deep, is always sharable. Our faith doesn’t stand alone or aloof. It is quick to strengthen another’s shaken or weak faith and quick to be strengthened. As we reflect on all that happened to Mary and Elizabeth, may we, too, discover and rejoice that the Lord’s Word is being fulfilled in us who believe and trust.
Copyright 1994, Liguori Publications / Used with permission
FAITH ACTION: Try to connect with someone — personally or by phone — whom you may not have heard from in a while.