The Visitation

From:  Mary My Hope [Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D.] pages 56-57

How humble you were! Though you were the Mother of the Most High, you wanted to become the nurse of Elizabeth and the infant John. Though declared blessed among women, you considered yourself the servant of two of God’s beloved children.

Help me to strive to imitate your wonderful charity by aiding those who are in need, by sympathizing with those who are afflicted, by opening my heart and applying my hands to relieve every form of distress. Give me love like yours, which recognized in every human being a brother or sister in Jesus Christ, to be treated with respect and tenderness and to be aided according to the measure of my power. Teach me that the test of my following of your Divine Son is practical charity. Help me, above all, so that by my good example I may enrich and ennoble every human being whose life I touch.

The Feast of the Visitation

“The staying of the Mother of God quiets the human mother. The angel could calm Mary with just a few words; Mary, as a human, must proceed more slowly; she calms Elizabeth by staying with her. But she has learned from the angel how one gives peace. She knows from her own experience that the explosive effect of receiving a mission means a disturbance which requires guidance into a new form of calm.”

Handmaid of the Lord, Adrienne von Speyr, page 46

Artwork:  “The Visitation”, by Giotto Di Bondone, circa 1310.  Location:  North transept, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

The Feast of the Visitation

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth before the birth of Saint John the Baptist is the second joyful mystery of the Rosary.  The theme of the liturgical celebration of this Marian Feast is “sharing feelings of joy by praising God.” 

Everywhere we turn in the unfolding of the Visitation we find joy, thanksgiving and praise.  Mary makes haste to go to Elizabeth so that they may rejoice together over both being with child.  As soon as Mary greets Elizabeth, John leaps for joy in the womb.  Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth cries out in a loud voice, and then praises both Mary, and Jesus in the womb, as being blessed.  Mary’s response of praise and thanksgiving is her spontaneous, powerful Magnificat.

Underlying all of this joy, praise and thanksgiving is the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit who urges Mary to make haste to visit Elizabeth; it is the Holy Spirit who fills Elizabeth, and the Holy Spirit who causes John to leap with joy in the womb because he is so near to the presence of Jesus.

In the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia we are told that Mary’s “presence and much more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John…  Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped in the womb of his mother; he was then cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God. Our Lady now for the first time exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man, that He might by her mediation sanctify and glorify us.”

This is another wonderful thing upon which to meditate – that Mary, in the Visitation, exercises her role as Mediatrix of all Graces for the very first time.  With a short, inspirational homily touching upon this very aspect of the Visitation, as well as Mary’s role not only as Mother of God but our Mother as well, here is Father Ignatius of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, courtesy of the franciscanfriars YouTube Channel: