The Visitation: A Reading and Reflection on this Holy Feast

Liège Eglise saint-Jacques Vitrail 23 08 2009 03

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.

Visitation
Two women meet,
cousins yet more than kin—
bound now to one another
by pregnant surprise.
Their unpredictable God has laughed at nature
and made the childless and the virgin bear.
She of the leaping womb, thought barren,
bears the restlessness of her God.
And the virgin unknown
becomes the magnifying glass
that makes great her God for all to see.
The women embrace:
forgotten hope surprised by life
embraces surpassing love.
Meeting they touch
the old and the new
the forgotten and the unknown
now revealed in mystery
as ancient desire and time’s fullness.
The simple majesty
of their common meeting
is remembered as the uncommon visitation
of God come among us.
Shall our own forgotten hope
protect us from surprise?
Perhaps!
Shall our fear of being known
cause us to turn and hide
from this—God’s embrace?
It is possible.
Shall we trade
the restlessness of God
for oblivion?
Also possible.
But these women,
Elizabeth and Mary,
desire and fullness,
call us to laugh with our unpredictable God
who comes to visit
such a warm and generous embrace
upon our quaking hearts.
— Harry Hagan, OSB

[Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.] 
 
[POEM: http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2012/05/31/visitation/]

[ART:    This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication by Vassil in Wikimedis.com]                 

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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