Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

The Visitation

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 22, 2008

Greetings!: This is a continuation of an Advent reflection as seen from the eyes of the Mother of the Redeemer, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Please refer to the first post in this series: INTRODUCTION if you are a first time reader.

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Note: In this as in other great mysteries of the Blessed Virgin’s life which she herself described to the mystics, quotations from her own words are printed in italics.

 

[Biblical Passages will follow in BOLD black print when they apply.]

ON THE DAY AFTER THE ANNUNCIATION Mary’s many guardian angels appeared before her visibly, and with deep humility they adored their incarnate King in His Mothers womb, saying to her: “Now, O Lady, thou art the true Ark of the Testament. We wish to obey thee as servants of the supreme Lord whose Mother thou [are].”…

Three days after the Annunciation the Lord revealed to Mary in a vision that the son whom her cousin Elizabeth had already conceived was destined to be a great prophet and forerunner of the Messiah, and that it was God’s Will that Mary should visit her in order that both mother and child might be sanctified by the presence of their Redeemer.

[Mary] then asked St. Joseph for his permission. He still knew nothing about the Annunciation, and now Mary told him only that the Lord had informed her that Elizabeth was with child, and that she felt obliged visit her. Joseph willingly agreed to her plans,…

Many times during this tiring four days’ journey Mary dismounted and urged Joseph to ride, but he never accepted her offer, though now and then he did allow her to walk with him…at other times she spoke with Joseph about the coming of the Redeemer. To his profound wonderment and joy, her words filled him with an entirely new understanding and love for God…

How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?

How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?

At last the holy couple reached the little village of AinKarem in the Judean hills five miles west of Jerusalem.  As they approached the house of Zacharias…St. Joseph hastened ahead in order to announce their visit…Elizabeth immediately came out to welcome her cousin,…saying:

“The Lord be with you, my dearest cousin.’

Holding hands they crossed the garden to the house where St. Elizabeth again welcomed her cousin … Once inside, they threw their arms around each other and remained there for some time in a warm embrace.  Then Mary said in a most friendly way:

“My God save you, my dearest cousin, and may His Divine Light give you grace and life!”

At the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, which revealed to her the Mystery of the Incarnation, the unique dignity of Mary, and her own son’s sanctification. Rapt in joy she looked reverently at the Holy Mother of God – then, stepping back a little and lifting her hands, she exclaimed with an expression of deep humility, happiness, and inspiration:

“Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy! And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished.”

During those days 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.” ~Luke 1:39-45 (NAB)

 

Crossing her hands on her breast, Mary intoned in the sweetest and softest voice:

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.  And my spirit [has] rejoiced in God my Saviour.  Because He [has] regarded the humility of His handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For He that is mighty [has] done great things to me, and holy is His name.  And His mercy is from generation unto generation to them that fear Him. He [has] showed might in His arm: He [has] scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  He [has] put down the mighty from their seat: and [has] exalted the humble.  He [has] filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He [has] sent empty away.  He [has] received Israel His servant: being mindful of His mercy.  As He spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever.”

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.  His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him.  He has shown might with His arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.  He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.  The hungry He has filled with good things; the rich He has sent away empty.  He has helped Israel His servant, remembering His mercy, according to His promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” ~ Luke 1:46-55 (NAB)

 

While Elizabeth marveled at the fervor of the Holy Spirit that spoke through me, I likewise marveled at the grace of God in her, and we praised God together.

 

When toward evening the two holy women came forth after a long friendly talk about the heavenly mysteries that were to be accomplished in them.  [As] soon as the Blessed Virgin saw her cousin’s husband, Zacharias, a tall and some old priest, she asked him for his blessing, which he gave her without saying a word, for he had been stricken dumb six months earlier in the Temple when he doubted the angel’s prophecy that Elizabeth would bear a son.

Three days later, St. Joseph returned to his work in Nazareth, as Mary planned to spend three months with her cousin.

And Mary remained with her about three months,.. ~Luke 1:56a

During this time, in addition to all her usual prayers, the Blessed Virgin busied herself by sewing and preparing the swaddling clothes for her cousin’s baby. And whenever she could, despite Elizabeth’s protests, Mary swept the house and her own room, and washed the dishes with servants…

Every evening Mary and Elizabeth recited the Magnificat together,…Sometimes they spent nearly all night praying together. Mary always arose at midnight for her prayers.  A few times St. Elizabeth merited to see the Mother of God in ecstasy, raised above the ground and radiant with supernatural splendor and beauty.

During the third month of the visit, St. Elizabeth begged her young cousin, whom she loved deeply, to stay at least until the birth of Zacharias’ son. “Let me see my child in your arms, dear Mary,” she pleaded. “Do not deny this consolation to me nor this great happiness to my son.” With her usual prudence, Mary agreed that they should pray to know God’s will.

And the Lord said to [Mary]

“My Dove, assist My servant Elizabeth at her childbirth.  And after her son shall be circumcised, return to thy home with Joseph. And continue to pray to Me for the salvation of souls.”

A few days later…with only moderate pains, St. Elizabeth gave birth to a fine baby son, who was destined to be the holy Forerunner of Christ. After he was wrapped in the swaddling clothes made by Mary’s own hands, the Blessed Virgin came into her cousin’s room and took the babe into her arms. The newborn child…gazed at her with love and adored his Lord in her with intense humility and thanksgiving. Holding him in her arms, Mary offered him to the Eternal Father and prayed for him…Then…Mary lovingly caressed the saintly child – but she did not kiss him, as she wished to keep her chaste lips untouched for her own divine Son.

…numerous friends and relatives came to congratulate Zachariahs and Elizabeth, whose joy and gratitude were touching.

Eight days after his birth, the baby boy was circumcised, and during the discussion as to his name, his father Zacharias wrote on a tablet: “His name is John.” In that very moment, at Mary’s prayer, he recovered the use of his voice and joyfully broke forth into the inspired canticle,…

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.  And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.  And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called.  And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled.  And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. ~Luke 1:57-64

 

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and wrought the redemption of His people . . . that, delivered from the hand of our enemies, we should serve Him without fear, in holiness and justice before Him all our days. And thou, child, [shall] be called the prophet of the Most High, for thou [shall] go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give to His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the loving kindness of our God…”

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people… to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, …”~Luke 1:67-68, 74-78

 

A few days later, St. Joseph came to accompany Mary back to Nazareth…Kneeling before Zacharias, she took his hand and begged him to bless her.  The old priest, who knew now that she was the chosen Mother of Messiah, was deeply moved, and giving her his blessing he said: “In thee let all nations know their God, and through thee let the name of the Lord of Jacob be glorified.”

And [Joseph and Mary] set out on their journey home.

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home. ~Luke 1:56

During this four-day trip the Blessed Virgin…now in her third month with child…was more easily fatigued…she prayed more than ever that the Lord might assist St. Joseph with special graces and understanding when he became aware of her condition, as would – happen soon. For she knew that she could not explain God’s holy secret to him until the Lord Himself allowed her to do so.

Previous Posts:

Anne & Joachim
Nativity (Birth) of Mary
Infancy of Mary
Presentation/Service to the Temple
* Part I
* Part II
In The Temple
The Espousals
Preparation for the Annunciation
* Part I
* Part II
* Part III
The Annunciation

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