Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth

Dear Liz,

I know how hard it is to maintain peace in your heart while so much activity and so many problems are swirling all around you.  But I have to tell you that it is possible.  This, in fact, is one of the most remarkable characteristics of the saints.  They are able to live peacefully and joyfully amidst the most adverse circumstances.  How?  Because they have made Jesus the center of their attention.  Not just theoretically, but actually.  I think that’s one of the (many) lessons that today’s beautiful Feast teaches us.

You remember the event, right?  It’s described in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel.  The Archangel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, promising that he and Elizabeth would have a child, even though they were now past their childbearing years.  So Elizabeth indeed gets pregnant, and in her sixth month of pregnancy Gabriel appears to Mary to announce that she will be the mother of Jesus (Gabriel was keeping busy back in those days).  In the course of that conversation, the Archangel mentioned Elizabeth’s pregnancy – Elizabeth was a relative of Mary’s.  So then Mary goes “in haste” to visit her cousin and take care of her until she has her baby, who turns out to be St John the Baptist.  Well, as soon as Mary shows up, John jumps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb, and Elizabeth blesses Mary, then Mary sings praise to God.  And the first line of her song is: “My soul magnifies the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

John the Baptist jumps for joy, Mary’s spirit rejoices, and Elizabeth exclaims that Mary is the most blessed of women… Where Christ is the center of attention, there you find JOY, that’s all there is to it.  And that, my beloved niece, is why TODAY you need to start making Christ in the Eucharist your favorite place to relax.  He has chosen to stay with us in such a humble, silent way precisely in order to give us an opportunity to keep him in the center of our lives – not just symbolically, but really.  To make his Real Presence the axis around which your physical, historical, everyday life revolves – how could you go wrong doing that?

Your loving uncle,


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