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Rejoice, God Is with Us
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
During those days 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 upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I long to know you better and love you more. I desire to contemplate your Scriptures with the eyes of faith. On this last day of May, open my mind and heart to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, that I may rejoice with Mary in contemplating your goodness to me and to all mankind.
- Mary Set Out in Haste: Whenever we contemplate Mary in Scriptures, her humility is apparent. She was humble enough to consent to the message of the angel, “I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). Here, she was humble enough to make haste to assist Elizabeth. The remarkable fact that she had just conceived the Son of the Most High in her womb did not keep her from seeing the needs of those around her. Her charity was concrete and immediate. Mary’s rapid response was fruit of her humility; her focus was not on herself. She maintained this attitude of humble service throughout her life: sharing Jesus with the shepherds and kings in Bethlehem, noticing there was no wine at the wedding of Cana, and gathering the Apostles in prayer while awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
- Blessed Is the Fruit of Your Womb: Mary undoubtedly assisted Elizabeth with numerous chores around the house, for which Elizabeth would have been most grateful. However, filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth’s joyful proclamation was, “How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Elizabeth was overjoyed upon seeing Mary because she brought Jesus with her. His title, Emmanuel, or “God with us,” was literally coming true in Elizabeth’s presence, and both she and the child within her womb rejoiced. In all its works of corporal mercy, the Church ultimately wants to communicate Christ’s presence. After any material benefits from such works may have disappeared, such as a shared meal long since digested, the seeds of grace, faith and love may last—hopefully into eternity. Bringing Christ to people must remain our primary focus. Mary gave us an example of such focus.
- My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord: Rooted in humility, Mary’s openness to God and neighbor allowed the Holy Spirit to fill her heart with exuberant joy. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary must have been radiantly beaming during this song of praise for God her Savior. Even while acknowledging the grandeur of what was happening to her, “from now on will all ages call me blessed,” she still gave all the glory to God, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” Mary’s Magnificat is a foretaste of the joyous praise that souls will give to God in heaven. However, as Christians, we possess Christ in our souls through grace, and even in this life we should constantly and joyfully sing Our Lord’s praises.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, I praise and glorify the wonderful things you have done in my own life. You created me. You called me into your Mystical Body through baptism. You nourish me with your Body and Blood. You have repeatedly forgiven my sins. You have given me your Holy Spirit to guide me in my particular mission. You have placed the saints and my fellow Christians along my path. Like your Blessed Mother, I ask you, Lord, that I may continuously sing your praises in all circumstances.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will seek out three brief moments to express joy and gratitude for the many gifts you have given me.
For Further Reflection: The Magnificat: Canticle of Mary and Magnifying Glass of Intercessory Love by Winifred Corrigan.
Written by Father John Bullock, LC