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Our Visitation Moments with Christ

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-18A

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

R. (6) Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-56

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.

NAB

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Meditations on the Feast of the Visitation often focus on Mary’s ready and faithful response to her cousin in need. Mary didn’t resist, didn’t meander, didn’t put Elizabeth at the bottom of her To-Do list after a long line of things that really didn’t take priority.

No, friends.

In fact, Mary quickened her pace until she reached the hill country, moved perhaps by her sweet Lord within her. We would do well to remember Mary’s actions today when we feel a weight of inertia or lack of willingness to help those around us.

But there’s another reality of the Visitation that was pressed hard in on me today, and it is that of Jesus. It would be easy to assume that Jesus was just along for the ride on Mary’s journey to Elizabeth, but that wouldn’t be true. Today’s Feast reminds us that it is as much about Jesus visiting Elizabeth and baby John as it is about Mary visiting Elizabeth.

It is Jesus who compelled John to leap for joy in his mother’s womb. It is Jesus who prompts Elizabeth to praise and honor Mary. It is Jesus, quickening inside her, who compels Mary to sing her song of thanks to God.

We, too, each live our own moment-to-moment Visitations. Jesus visits us in the moments when we look ruefully in the mirror at our ever-changing bodies and crave acceptance and love. He visits us in the conversation we didn’t really want to have but knew we needed. He visits us the birth of new babes and in job promotions and in every other happy, joyful moment. And He visits us in times of death, doubt, and loneliness.

He visited me this morning, when I woke with the realization that it had been one year and one day since I followed my father’s casket down the aisle at my childhood church. He visits me in this way every day, in the grief and in the joy. Simply acknowledging His visit to my heart is enough for me to be able to say, “the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”

What is one way that Jesus has visited you this week? Make an act of gratitude for His visit to your heart.

photo credit

Karen Schultz is a Birth Doula who hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where she is often found in or near one of them. You can find out more about her here.

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