MAY 31. THE VISITATION. Lk. 1. 39-56
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
One of the features of the Visitation is how, immediately after being invited to become the Mother of God, Mary chose to love and care for others. In the circumstances a very real option for Mary would have been to withdraw from all involvement with others and spend her time in prayer and seclusion; - giving praise to God.
Given the divine child was already dwelling within her physically we can assume she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to act as she did, and that her actions were a forerunner to what her Son would later label “The Great Commandment”; - to love and serve others; - and to act and promote a spirit of humility.
Also, looking ahead to Mary’s role as not only the Mother of God, but also her role as our own Mother, it is fitting she should display the same sentiments her son would not only practice, but also teach to his followers.
And when we ponder the Magnificent we find her giving voice to the greatness of God and her desire to praise him; - referring to herself as “his lowly handmaid”, and then going on, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to reveal the mind of God:
“He routs the proud. He pulls down princes from their thrones and exalts the lowly. The hungry are filled with good things, the rich he sends away empty. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy – according to the promises he has made”.
It is almost as if she was speaking on behalf of the Son of God who was dwelling within her?
Gospel Acclamation cf.Lk1:45
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for your firm believing
that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled.