“The Hail Mary includes the greeting of St. Elizabeth to the Blessed Virgin when Mary went to spend time with her: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42)
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (May 31, 2022): ZEP 3:14-18; IS 12:2-3,4,5-6;LK 1:39-56
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
During the Annunciation of the Incarnation of our Lord by the angel of God, Mary learned the Almighty’s plans for her as mother of Jesus, mother of God.
The celebration of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary goes back to the late 1300’s. However, this date was not chosen until the late 1960’s to place appropriately between the Annunciation of the Lord and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. In the readings, we first hear from a prophet who was offering some words of hope in one of many difficult periods in the history of the Jewish people. “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all you heart, O daughter Jerusalem! … 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” (Zephaniah 3:14,17). Nevertheless, the coming of the Messiah would have to wait several hundred more years. The event we commemorate today brings us to the end of a journey that the Blessed Virgin Mary undertook to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth. During the Annunciation of the Incarnation of our Lord by the angel of God, Mary learned the Almighty’s plans for her as mother of Jesus, mother of God. She also heard about the pregnancy of Elizabeth. So she went to give practical assistance to the older woman as well as to pray and to praise God. The cousins must also have contemplated their future and, especially, that of the infants they were carrying.
These women, one old and one young, were both poor and insignificant in any way that mattered to the larger world. They could not know all that God expected from them. They lived in the land of their Jewish people, but one occupied by the Romans. Surely, they knew enough of their own history and the harshness of the world around them to think that life would be simple or safe for their sons. So they did the best they could as wives, mothers, and women of faith. They were joined in their deep trust in God’s love, God’s will and God’s grace, wherever it would lead them or their families, particularly Jesus and John. Day by day, they did their best -- just as we are asked to do.
Suggested missionary action: Let us offer a rosary today asking our Blessed Mother to lead us ever closer to Her Son, our Lord. Let us also ask her to offer prayerful and practical support to pregnant women, new mothers, and their babies. And we can beseech her protection for the Church’s missions.