"Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love." — St. John of the Cross
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"What words, can, alas, express the deep grief of the Blessed Virgin? Her eyes closed, a death-like tint overspread her countenance; unable to stand, she fell to the ground, but was soon lifted up, and supported by John, Magdalen, and the others. She looked once more upon her beloved Son—that Son whom she had conceived by the Holy Ghost, the flesh of her flesh, the bone of her bone, the heart of her heart—hanging on a cross between two thieves; crucified, dishonored, condemned by those whom He came on earth to save; and well might she at this moment be termed 'the Queen of Martyrs.'" — Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, p. 294 AN EXCERPT FROM The Dolores Passion
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This is a fairly late feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century. It was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969 in order to follow the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25) and precede the Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24).
Like most feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and his saving work. The more visible actors in the visitation drama (see Luke 1:39-45) are Mary and Elizabeth. However, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy—the joy of messianic salvation. Elizabeth, in turn, is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary—words that echo down through the ages.
It is helpful to recall that we do not have a journalist's account of this meeting. Rather, Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a prayerful poet's rendition of the scene. Elizabeth's praise of Mary as "the mother of my Lord" can be viewed as the earliest Church's devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth's (the Church's) words first praise God for what God has done to Mary. Only secondly does she praise Mary for trusting God's words.
Then comes the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Here Mary herself (like the Church) traces all her greatness to God.
One of the invocations in Mary's litany is "Ark of the Covenant." Like the Ark of the Covenant of old, Mary brings God's presence into the lives of other people. As David danced before the Ark, John the Baptist leaps for joy. As the Ark helped to unite the 12 tribes of Israel by being placed in David's capital, so Mary has the power to unite all Christians in her Son. At times, devotion to Mary may have occasioned some divisiveness, but we can hope that authentic devotion will lead all to Christ and therefore to one another.
"Moved by charity, therefore, Mary goes to the house of her kinswoman.... While every word of Elizabeth's is filled with meaning, her final words would seem to have a fundamental importance: 'And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her from the Lord' (Luke 1:45). These words can be linked with the title 'full of grace' of the angel's greeting. Both of these texts reveal an essential Mariological content, namely the truth about Mary, who has become really present in the mystery of Christ precisely because she 'has believed.' The fullness of grace announced by the angel means the gift of God himself. Mary's faith, proclaimed by Elizabeth at the visitation, indicates how the Virgin of Nazareth responded to this gift" (Blessed John Paul II, The Mother of the Redeemer, 12).
"Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest" Here I am, Lord. I come to seek your presence. I long for your healing power.
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom. Through Your love I exist in this world. May I never take the gift of life for granted. May I always respect the right to life of others.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
The Word of God
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading 1 Zep 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.
Or Rom 12:9-16
Brothers and sisters: Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
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.
Alleluia See Lk 1:45 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 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.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ There is no false humility in Mary's tremendous prayer. There is the true humility of knowing that all that is being accomplished in her is being accomplished by God, "for the Mighty One has done great things for me." Mary makes no effort to minimise this greatness. She accepts it - fully, joyfully and expectantly. Her great song of praise is a glorious expression of Mary's hope.
▪ I ask you, Lord, to give me Mary's confidence and generosity of spirit. I ask not just to listen to your voice and do your will, but to do it joyfully and fearlessly. I want to answer your call with an exultant "Yes!" secure in the knowledge that as I move into the unknown my journey will be made radiant by your transfiguring presence, and that, as the Psalmist foretold, "your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord. I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life. Conclusion
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. (Luke 1:45)
To confirm something is to verify it as being true or accurate. It means putting to rest any doubts you may have about a particular matter. Looked at in this way, today's feast of the Visitation shows three different ways that God confirmed Mary's calling to her.
First, the Visitation tells us how Mary and Elizabeth—both made pregnant miraculously—offered an emotional confirmation to each other. You can imagine these two women talking excitedly about all that has happened to them: one who conceived despite her old age and the other who conceived without human intervention. You can see them sharing their joys, their concerns, and their hopes for their children.
Second, the Visitation describes a physical confirmation, when the baby John leaped in his mother's womb. Luke called this a leap of joy, indicating that it went far beyond a baby's normal kicking (Luke 1:44). That leap confirmed for Mary how special her baby was.
Third, the Visitation gave Mary a prophetic confirmation. Elizabeth called Mary "the mother of my Lord," confirming that Mary's child was more than just an ordinary baby (Luke 1:43). Luke also tells us that Elizabeth said these words because she was "filled with the Holy Spirit" (1:41).
Today, Jesus wants to confirm his promises in your heart. He wants to bless you just as he blessed Elizabeth, Mary, and John at the Visitation. Perhaps his blessing will spark you to leap toward him in faith. Maybe it will confirm his presence in you. Or maybe it will move you with excitement and a desire to share your blessing with the people around you.
Most of all, Jesus wants to confirm that he is working wonders in you, even if it doesn't feel like it. He wants to let you know that he is pleased with you, and he is happy to keep working in you, doing whatever it takes to build up your faith. So relax today, and listen for his voice in your heart. Let him tell you, "Blessed are you who believed!"
"Lord, I ask you to come and visit me. Holy Mary, come and confirm Jesus' work in my life."
We heard today in the first Holy Scripture: "The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior". Believe it or not. And belief makes a difference. As a matter of fact, believing makes ALL the difference. I like the quote by C.S. Lewis that I had for a long time as my email signature line " "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain. Why am I saying all this? Because, the Lord is in your midst, Mother Mary believed, and it made the entire difference in the entire world...and now the truth is being brought before you, at this moment in history. We prayed the Psalms " Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel." Here it is again! In our midst, is the great and Holy One of God's people. Jesus didn't die to go away, but to be with us in the Holy Spirit. This is an extravagant love, an explosion of love, because it was all packed into a human body, and now exploded to eternally grow with His offering on the cross. This is why the offering becomes the difference. And I am almost in tears with what we heard in the Holy Gospel, so let us go, on this note, there now. We heard the Word today: "Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah" but did you know this was about a 100 miles of travelling, for a young woman in her 1st Trimester of gestation (pregnancy). They say the first trimester is the hardest on a woman's body. And Mother, our Beautiful Mother sets foot, maybe got a ride for a part of the way, but still, either way it is hard, nausea, weakness, and so forth were part of the journey, but she travels because she BELIEVED, when the archangel told her that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant too, an unbelievable feat and she arrived finally "where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth" and Elizabeth, wait, Eliza- Beth. Hmm, Elisha, or Elijah. Both were tremendous prophets, Elijah who went body and soul to Heaven, hmm, and Beth, means house, house of Elijah/Elisha perhaps. Sorry, thinking outloud here. Anyways, this mother of the greatest of prophets as declared by Jesus God Himself in Matthew 11:11 "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Ok? So we have Elizabeth greet Mary, as "the Mother of My Lord" and calling her blessed repeatedly as we pray repeatedly in the Hail Mary prayer, just as Mother Mary would say "From this day all generations will call me blessed" and it is true, over 2,000 years later here we are, calling her Blessed for carrying the Lord, not a FETUS, as abortionist call children in the wombs, but she called Him the Lord! The Lord traveled in the womb the journey of the Mother of the Lord. The child feels what her mom feels, hears what she hears, and enjoys what she enjoys, but the child is it's own person already, the unborn child is already a part of this world. Then, Mary, our Mother, she says some of the most moving words I have ever heard in the Holy Bible, which we call the magnificat, and it begins with ""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." She magnifies God, points to God the whole time she speaks. If my life is blessed, it is because of Him. And "Holy is His Name". She goes on to say how the Lord loves those who fear Him, but the proud are sent on their way. Do you believe? Believing makes all the difference. What is so moving about this scene? To me, we have two women of God meeting in tremendous and joyful expectation, the children they carry are gifts from God. Yet, with us knowing the whole story, we know ultimately what happens to their children...they are killed by their own Jewish leaders. Slaughtered is the more appropriate term. These are faithful Jewish women, and this is how they are repaid? It would make an atheist just scream right about now, wouldn't it? As if to say "AH HA!" Where is your so called "good god" now? And notice the small case letter g, they use because they have no reverance...yet. But let's not stop at their slaughtering, of the prophet and the Messiah, but let's look further and stop focusing on one part of life only. Saint John is alive and well. JESUS even more for He gives Life to the whole world. He is among us, in the midst as we read. Do you believe? Here, then, is a great scene of humility. What then, makes life precious is knowing of the giving...giving to God. If you ever read the book which we read an exerpt today of Sister Anne Emerich and the Dolorous Passion, you will get a more filling glimpse of the passion of the passion of Mary...her Son. She absolutely adored Christ and in every rightly manner held her Son within like no one else on earth could, the true ark of LOVE. Now, if you are Catholic, how do you carry Christ? How do you carry Christ to the world? Eucharist. Do you carry, do you take Christ to the world as we are asked? Mary did. She carried the Christ to Elizabeth. The baby John leaped as King David leaped for Joy among the Ark of the Covenant hundreds of years before. Your heart should be pounding right now. God's thunderous drum beat is your heart beat. His life is coursing through your veins. Aren't you carrying the Christ? Are you spiritually fed? Because, Christ is among us, and I believe. If I could go around the world grabbing everyone's shoulders and shake them, I would say emphatically BELIEVE! BELIEVE! And some would, and some could not. Some would not because of their sin and their hold on sin vice versa. Yet, sin, nor death can keep us from Christ. Because your heart is pounding, and when we join, our pounding hearts become the thunderous song of the Lord. This then calls to the Heavens like nothing else could, because of the free bodies willingly offering themselves up to the Lord. To say "God needs you" would be an understatement then, because, he doesn't just need you, He loves you. His Glory will be no matter what.
So here's your message: God needs you to follow through
His will is this
Let your love be true
and joy will be yours, because He will be the Love of your life ! ! ! !