Posted by: fvbcdm | May 31, 2012

The Feast of the Visitation (31 May 2012)


As I compose this, it is the last day of the month of May, the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady.  The Archangel Gabriel had announced to her that she was to be the Mother of God. Full of grace, she immediately gave her consent to God’s plan with the beautiful words:  Be it done to me according to thy word.  She conceived, not by ordinary physical generation but by her obedience to God’s will and the life-giving operation of the Spirit within her.  And now, she has a special mission to accomplish: the Archangel has told her that her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, down in Judea far to the south, is expecting a baby.  She must go to the older woman to help her prepare for that unusual birth even as Mary prepares for the far more unusual birth of her own baby.  From Galilee she goes to Judea. Upon her arrival in the home of Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, and the two women embrace, these two unborn little boys are pressed together in this moment of delight and joy, and the slightly older John the Baptist leaps in his mother’s womb, being filled with the grace brought by Mary and the divine child she is carrying in secret. Elizabeth marvels at the things happening: at the sound of your greeting this child of mine leaped in my womb for joy!  A new world is dawning; things hitherto unheard of are now occurring.  A woman far beyond the age of childbearing feels new life stirring—LEAPING—within her.  A young virgin who “does not know man” is also with child, but this time, no merely human child, but the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity!  


Elizabeth has marveled over her own pregnancy; now Our Lady marvels even more so over what God is doing to and for her. She has just called herself a humble handmaid of the Lord, and now she realizes that “all generations will call her blessed.”  It is this wonderful contrast between humility and universal acclaim that is so striking.  How many millions of times has the Christian community down through the centuries said to her, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus!”  Not only do we take delight is thus honoring the mother of our Lord and our Mother, but we also realize that we are fulfilling her prophecy every time that we say that.

So on this particularly beautiful feast, we remember the moment when a young and an old woman embrace, both pregnant.  And the older woman’s baby is sanctified by the child of the younger one, and by his stirring in joy, he begins his sacred mission as the forerunner of the Lord whom he will one day call “the Lamb of God.”  This great foursome: Elizabeth and Mary, John the Baptist and Jesus, give us much to meditate upon as we celebrate the Visitation on this May 31 in the year of Our Lord 2012.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.   


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