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Receiving God’s Visitation with Open Hearts
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Opening Prayer: Mary my Mother, as I begin this time of prayer, I ask you to help me be open to God’s visitation in my life, in imitation of you and of St. John the Baptist in his mother’s womb. Teach me to have a child’s heart to wonder at God’s work and not grow accustomed to the powerful truth of his indwelling.
- Mary Traveled in Haste: In clear witness to the Holy Spirit’s action in her, Mary’s immediate response to the angel’s visit was service. Having experienced God’s overflowing love and grace in her life, she was immediately moved to offer herself as an instrument of that grace for others. Mary was aware from the start that God’s grace in her life was not a trophy or an accomplishment. She has been blessed, but the blessing she has received was not only for her, but for the whole human race. Having received the gift of God’s visitation, she opened her heart to be transformed into a gift for others in her own visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.
- The Infant Leaped: From the mouths of babes God has brought forth praise (Psalm 8:2). The poor and the humble, the weak and the outcast—often these are the first to recognize God’s action in this world. Their hearts are not tainted by the lure of passing earthly riches. They are not grasping and calculating but open and receptive, both to receiving and to giving selfless love. Their hearts are open to God’s visitation, and they have a special sensitivity to the wonder of God’s action in this world. The child carried in Elizabeth’s womb was the first to detect God’s presence in Mary’s virginal womb and the first to do him homage. His silent testimony is an invitation to us to take the time to pause and receive God’s saving presence as it manifests itself each and every day in our lives.
- My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord: What a privilege it is to look through this window into the soul of our Blessed Mother! Her heart was brimming with thanksgiving to God, such that anything and everything became an occasion for praise. Upon receiving Elizabeth’s words of admiration, her thoughts went directly to the greatness of God who had looked upon her with favor. She had no need to deflect the compliment, for her attention did not rest on herself for even an instant. Her heart’s gaze was so purely set on God that her hymn of praise sprang forth without even the slightest taint of pretension. She was overwhelmed with awe at the Father’s gratuitous love. The purity and simplicity of her absolute trust in him as the source of all blessing radiated from her in an invitation to all to place their trust in God alone rather than in human strength and striving.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, your Mother was so prompt to recognize your presence and action. She knew that you are the source of every blessing. Her open, docile heart allowed you to shower your blessing upon her and upon all of us through her. Grant me the grace to have a heart that is willing to risk letting go of control, to surrender to your love in trust. In learning to recognize your blessing in my own life, may I also become a source of blessing for others.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take a moment at the end of the day to raise my heart in praise for your action in my life, pausing to thank you for your hidden presence in specific moments that I call to mind.
For Further Reflection: How to Pray: Daily Examen.
Teresa Williams grew up in the Detroit, Michigan, area. She felt God’s call to consecrate her life to him at a young age and has been living out her vocation as a consecrated member of Regnum Christi since 2002. She has earned degrees in education and religious sciences and worked with young people in Ireland and several cities in Mexico. Currently, she is living and working in Monterrey, Mexico.