Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 572

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.



In response to my reflections on this feast last year a friend wrote to me,
I'd like to share a woman's point of view on the Visitation. I remember what feelings it stirred in my heart telling another woman, "I'm pregnant." Especially if the other gal was pregnant too, there was such a bond, a sense of knowing, and a connection. Magnify that in Mary's and Elizabeth's circumstances. It makes sense to me for Mary to hurry to her cousin to share the joy, the excitement, the awareness of God's power, the uncertainty of the future, the fear of delivery, and hope of a new baby. Motherhood is being a companion to God; you are a direct part of creation. Mary, of course, would share that event in her life with Elizabeth, but she also shares that event with all mothers.


I can add little to that – but of course, I’ll try:
John Lennon, of Beatles fame, once said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
Mary, of Jesus’ fame, teaches us to experience life as it happens while the Lord makes our plans. Repeatedly Saint Luke tells us she pondered these events. Even as the Angel Gabriel was speaking to her she “wondered what his greeting meant.” Her song, the Magnificat, reflects her ability to see God’s hand and reflect on its presence in the life of a poor Galilean woman.
This feast of the Visitation with its story of two women miraculously pregnant teaches us to see God in the commonplace. There’s nothing unusual about pregnancy, and yet it’s the most astonishing thing that can happen to a person. It is full of expectation, fear, hope and wonder. Another human being is forming who, hopefully, will outlive her mother. What will she see and know and learn in those years after her mother’s death? What will she carry into the future from the wisdom of her father? What must she understand about her parents' life before she was born?
Pregnancy is about letting something wonderful happen. The pregnant couple must do everything they can to allow the new life to flourish. The environment of the womb, the body and the home should be free of harsh chemicals, cruel thoughts and conflicted emotions. The couple cannot decide if the child is male or female; they cannot abort the child if it fails to meet their expectations; they can only prepare their hearts and minds and home to welcome the new creature into God's world and theirs. 

Dragonfly(?) with blue abdomen
and black wings
Too often we think we must make something happen; Mary teaches us to let something happen -- and ponder its development. 

Is pregnancy wonderful? Or more common than mud? Is life filled with the presence of God? Or just an unlikely mix of so many parts oxygen, water and carbon?
Only the one who contemplates in prayer can answer such questions.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.