Thoughts on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

the visitationWhen thinking on the Second Joyous Mystery, I always think of the kindness of Mary to visit with her cousin Elizabeth and help her in these last months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. How difficult it must have been for this older woman to carry a child in her womb, to go about her day, doing all the various chores that would have been hers.

Remembering my time as a  pregnant young woman –  as the months advanced even bending over to pick up dirty clothing from the floor or tie my shoes was difficult. How much more difficult it must have been for Elizabeth. We don’t know how old Elizabeth was when she became pregnant, but older than was normal for a woman of the time. It must have meant that she had passed menopause, so probably 50 years old or older.

This morning, when reading the Canticle of Zechariah and considering the joyous words, I thought about the excitement that Mary brought with her. Elizabeth knew that Mary was carrying the Messiah, for the Holy Spirit told her so. Zechariah must have soon recognized this fact or have been told as well, perhaps by Elizabeth. What joy there must have been in that home for the months that Mary was there – each day recognizing that the soon to be born Messiah lived under one’s roof. Could anyone have fallen asleep at night? Or would one fall asleep praising God for the fulfillment of a promise made so long ago?

In our own lives now, I can receive the Son of God into my body – differently than Mary – but still He comes to live with me. Why don’t I feel the joy that Zechariah and Elizabeth felt? Am I so used to receiving Communion that it no longer means anything to me? How do I focus on this mystery of the Lord with me, so that I will cherish what I receive?

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December 22, 2013

What about Mary’s joy? She wanted to share it with someone. Were her parents deceased by now? Is that why she went to see Elizabeth as her nearest female relative? Was it only another woman who could understand her joy? Or was Mary’s journey the prompting of the Holy Spirit, for Mary’s contact with Elizabeth and her unborn son would prepare John for his coming mission? We are told that at the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary, the unborn John was cleansed of original sin. So many things to ponder. So many mysteries that will remain unanswered.