The Gospel according to 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 forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I long to know you better and love you more. I desire to contemplate your Scriptures with the eyes of faith. On this last day of May, open my mind and heart to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, that I may rejoice with Mary in contemplating your goodness to me and to all mankind.
Encountering Christ: Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Imagine this, it’s today, Monday morning on Memorial Day, you’ve slept in and still lingering around the house in your pajamas and trying to get the day started. Then the doorbell rings and you reluctantly answer it. “It’s the Holy Mother herself and she is pregnant with Jesus, Our Lord”. How do you respond? What should you do or say? Suddenly, you are struck with joy! The joy of the presence of Our Lord and the Holy Mother at your own home. What type of conversations would you have over the next few months? Think about all the spiritual insight that you are going to acquire. Think about the joy that live with you for the rest of your life.
The beautiful feast we celebrate today depicts two miraculous pregnancies. One came about by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The other was the miraculous conception in the womb of a woman who was advanced in years. The Scripture passage presents us with the initial encounter of Mary and Elizabeth as they greeted each other upon Mary’s arrival. Mary had traveled a long distance, while she was pregnant, to be with her cousin for the last few months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And upon greeting Elizabeth, another miraculous event occurred. The baby in the womb of Elizabeth, Saint John the Baptist, “leaped for joy.” Thus, even prior to his birth, John began to fulfill his unique mission of preparing the way for the Lord. He did so at that moment by inspiring his own mother, Elizabeth, with a knowledge of the divine presence of the Savior within the womb of Mary.
Think about the joyful conversations that these two holy women would have shared during their months together. Though we are given only a small insight into their initial conversation from the Scriptures, we can be certain that this was but a small sampling of what they would have discussed in much prayerful detail. In particular, their conversations would have contained a mutual sharing of the spiritual gift of joy.
Joy is much more than an emotion. It is spiritual in nature. It is not only an experience of something fun, but also the experience of realizing the “Action of God” in your life. This joy produces a strength and energy that is contagious and uplifting. This joy is what keeps us going in our life.
We must all strive to see the hand of God at work in our own lives so that our focus upon His divine actions will produce joy also. We need joy. We need to be strengthened by this gift so that we will be encouraged and strengthened as we daily strive to fulfill His will.
Closing Prayer: My holy infant Jesus, as You dwelt in the sacred womb of Your own dear mother, Your presence caused much rejoicing in her heart and in the hearts of Elizabeth and John. Help me to see Your presence in our world and in my life so that I, too, will be filled with the joy of You constantly coming to me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: Identify the joy that has been in your life. These joys do not have to be special occasions, it could be a beautiful flower in your garden, a special conversation with a friend, or just a simple hug.
There is the traditional Christmas tune that I think it is appropriate today. So, sit back; crank up the volume; close your eyes; and enjoy this version of
“Joy to the World”.