2nd July : The Visitation

The Visitation

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Mary’s first thought after the Archangel’s visit was to hasten to the little city of Ain Kharin and congratulate her cousin Elizabeth on the wonderful event about to take place.  As Mary hastened along, those who met her little realized that she bore the Redeemer of the world; being outwardly humble, sweet, and gracious to all.  So the little girl from Nazareth passed unobserved upon her way.  But as she raised her voice in loving salutation to Elizabeth, when entering the house, a marvelous thing happened, for the unborn infant in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy as he heard the voice of God’s Mother sounding in his ears.  Elizabeth, stricken with amazement, cried out:  “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And whence is this to me that the Mother of my God should come to me?  For behold, as soon as the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leapt for joy.  Blessed are you who have believed, because those things shall be accomplished which were spoken to you by the Lord.”

In that instant Elizabeth knew that she was standing in the presence of God; knew that the little girl standing before her was God’s Mother; knew all that had taken place at Nazareth; knew of Mary’s “Fiat”.

Then Mary lifted up her voice in high thanksgiving and gave forth the marvelous canticle:  “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For He who is mighty has done great things in me; and holy is His name; and His mercy is on them that fear Him; from one generation to another.  He has shown might with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart; He has put down the mighty from their seat; and the humble He has exalted.  He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent away empty.  Mindful of His mercy He has received Israel His servant; as He spoke to our Fathers to Abraham and His seed forever.”

In this Magnificat of the humble little girl of Nazareth there is an intense personal note; she sees why it is that she is exalted—her humility.  She prophesies as well as she sings, and foretells her future glory.  Then she tells that God’s mercy follows those that fear Him; she sings of God’s might’ she returns to the thought of God’s mercy, and with this mercy in mind, the little virgin ends her triumphant song.

For three months Mary and Elizabeth rejoiced in each other’s company and gave thanks to God for all the wonderful mercy He had bestowed on them—one, the mother of the Herald of God, the other, the Mother of God Himself.  Yet these months saw nothing outwardly extraordinary; it was just the quiet outwardly ordinary daily round, such as might be seen in any family.

After those three months the Virgin set out on her way home to Nazareth, and her return was as little noted as her going.  She came full of joy and she returned full of joy, for no hint of coming sorrow cast a shadow upon her.

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