"Each child is sent into this world by God with a "Unique Message" to deliver, a new personal act of love to bestow" - John Powell, S.J., Professor of Theology
(Gospel Text: Lk 1:39-56) The Feast of the Visitation
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 for ever."
Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
Today, we contemplate the Virgin Mary's Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. As soon as she was told she had been chosen by God to be the Mother of the Son of God and that her cousin Elizabeth had also received the gift of motherhood, she decidedly set out for the hills to congratulate her cousin, to share with her the joy of having been blessed with the gift of maternity and to serve her.
And yet, now in our present society, motherhood is not duly prized. A driving force behind this current sentiment is a parent's love implies an eventual renunciation of self interests and as a result many families stop being “shrines of life”. His Holiness Pope John Paul II confirms that birth control and abortion «have their roots in an hedonist and irresponsible mentality with respect to sexuality and presuppose a selfish concept of liberty, that sees in procreation an obstacle to the development of their own personality».
As Catholics, we have always believed that God is near to our little ones, even in the womb. When new life enters the world, we are full of wonder as we see them for the first time. The economy of Heaven often allows the love and generosity of God to be revealed through our little ones, who teach us even as we are supposed to be teaching them. God often comes to us in the ordinary stuff of which life is made, but sometimes we are too busy to notice. And sometimes, we lapse into the wrong way of thinking, in which others become a burden and threat to our autonomy and independence. This is short-sighted and wrong, but it is part of our broken humanity.
I am glad that Elizabeth welcomed Mary, and that she was so attentive toward little John. I am sure that this changed the nature of that three-month visit to her home. Perhaps we can learn from her example and become more aware of the gifts God is sending our way.