Retreat Reflections- the Visitation

Who are your Elizabeths? Our Blessed Mother gives us the ideal example of female spiritual companionship in her relationship with her cousin Elizabeth. The second Joyful Mystery is The Visitation. As documented in the Gospel of Luke:

39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

So let’s picture this… you’ve got Mary, about 14 years old who just found out that she was pregnant and carrying the Savior of the World hopping on the nearest donkey to go see her cousin. And not just any cousin, a cousin who is advanced in age and was told that she was barren and she, too, is pregnant! So Mary took off and traveled about 62 miles (100 km) through rocky terrain and hostile territory to go and help. Part of her motivation might have been confirmation of what happened to her. After all if, when she arrived at Elizabeth’s side, Mary found her to indeed be 6 months pregnant, then she too, really had an encounter with an angel.

What does Elizabeth do as soon as she sees Mary? Does she start complaining about sciatic nerve pain or swollen ankles or heartburn or having to pee every 3 minutes? Nope, she is filled with the Holy Spirit, calls Mary “blessed” and Mary, in turn, glorifies the Lord through her Magnificat (and this is one of the reasons I love my faith… we have such fun words… fiat, magnificat…)

46And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

In a time where women are at constant odds with one another over silly competitions, here are a pair of women not concerned with how much better one is than the other but instead they are taking joy in each others fortunes. Instead of being enemies with one another we need to embrace one another, and not just over man bashing either.

So, who are your Elizabeths? Who are the women you can go to at any time and they will be happy to see you and happy to help? I am eternally grateful for my Elizabeths: Tamara, Paulette, Kim, Suz, Laura, Colleen, Jen, Shannon, Lisa, Valerie, Nina… the list could go on and on. One thing I need to do is to tell my Elizabeths how important they are to me, and I challenge you to do the same. In this age of email, FaceBook, Twitter and blogs, maybe a nice hand written card or letter is just what your Elizabeth needs.

We are all tasked to be Christ-bearers, much like Mary. Mary’s focus was not on herself but rather the child in her womb. When we turn our focus to Christ, He takes care of all the rest.

The Visitation

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Filed under Art, mothering, sacraments, tradition

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