Feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Luke 1:39-56
The Gospel reading for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Luke 1:39-56
Mary, having accepted God’s will for her to become the “Mother of God” and informed of her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy, travels for four days (some 80 miles, perhaps guided by St. Joseph) to the hill country of Judea. There are mysterious echoes of the Old Testament in Mary’s journey. In the Old Testament, King David travels to the hill country of Judea to reclaim the lost Ark of the Covenant which is overshadowed by God’s presence (Exod 40:35); Mary travels to the same area and is the Ark of the New Covenant in which the Son of God resides. King David finds the Ark and is overwhelmed by feelings of unworthiness; Elizabeth has the same response when she greets Mary. King David leaps with joy in the presence of the Ark; John the Baptist leaps with joy in Elizabeth’s womb. King David returns the Ark of the (Old) Covenant to Jerusalem; Christ will return to Jerusalem and, in His Passion and Resurrection, establish the New Covenant.
Elizabeth is miraculously moved by the Holy Spirit upon Mary’s arrival. Without being told Mary is pregnant (only a few weeks into her pregnancy, Mary does not “show”), Elizabeth recognizes (“Blessed are you…blessed is the fruit of your womb”) Mary’s miraculous conception. Elizabeth is divinely inspired to exalt Mary as “the mother of my Lord.” Mysteriously, Mary’s voice is heard by John the Baptist, still three months away from birth in Elizabeth’s womb, and causes John to leap with joy.
The Magnificat (Latin: “magnifies”) begins with Mary’s grateful response to the blessings that God has bestowed upon her. Mary acknowledges she is a simple and humble soul (a handmaiden) who exists to for God’s will to be done (“My soul magnifies the Lord”). Astoundingly, Mary prophetically announces that “all generations will call me blessed.”
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ even in the earliest stages of gestation in Mary’s womb has a powerful impact on Elizabeth and the unborn John. Divine King, Christ’s presence causes Elizabeth to be the first to recognize Mary’s Queenship (in ancient Jewish culture, the mother of the king was queen). Person of the Trinity and Son of Mary, Christ fills His mother with joy and inspires Mary to give Him glory. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals to His mother the truth that “all generations will call [Mary] blessed.”
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) While the beautiful devotion of the Rosary has been prayed in some form for 1000 years, the key parts of the “Hail Mary” (“Hail Mary, full of Grace..”, “Blessed are you among women…”) are from words in Luke’s Gospel. Be awed that words uttered by angels and saints in awe of Christ 2000 years ago are repeated today.
2) The “Hail Mary” and the Rosary provide men the beautiful ability to draw closer to Christ and His Blessed Mother. Reflect upon Praying in Communion with the Holy Mother of God (CCC 2673-2682, 2708, 1674) and ask Christ to help you grow in your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
3) Each man enjoys immeasurable daily blessings, including the priceless gift of life and a multitude of small blessings (health, freedom, food, shelter, protection, family, friends, work, etc.). Reflect upon the Magnificat (CCC 273, 722, 971, 2097, 2617-2619, 2622, 2675) be inspired by Mary to give Christ thanks for your many blessings; join the Church in the praying of the Magnificat.