Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, May 31
May We Imitate the Faith, Trust and Love Which Our Blessed Mother Lived in Her Life, and Which She Gives to Each of Us As a Perfect Model for Us to Follow.
Today, the universal Church celebrates the Feastday of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, and also the first meeting between Jesus in the womb of His Mother, and His second cousin, John the Baptist – the baby in Elizabeth’s womb.
And in today’s Gospel, we are introduced to the prayer called the “Magnificat”, words which Mary prayed as she lifted her voice as a song of praise to God.
The Magnificat is the title commonly given to this prayer as taken from the first word of the Latin text of what is called the Canticle or the Song of Mary – “Magnificat anima mea, Dominum [“My soul magnifies the Lord]”
It is by means of this prayer, this song of praise, whereby we recall Mary’s example of faith to which the whole Church aspires. When we pray the Canticle of Mary, the first words seem to raise our hearts in both song and prayer: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”
The Magnificat becomes both the song of the Mother of God and the song of the Church, for the prayer itself characterizes the generous offering of both the Church and Mary’s entire being, for it becomes a genuine offering of praise and thanksgiving to God!
If we can mentally place ourselves at this scene where Mary is greeting her cousin, we can feel her emotions as she prays, “My spirit rejoices in God my savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”
This song is so filed with quiet grace and confidence in God that it imparts that same feeling to all the generations of Christians who have echoed its words throughout the ages, for we already see in Mary her perfect obedience to God’s will, wherein we experience the true beauty of Mary’s love and the virtue of charity which she exhibits.
For it is in the very fact that, after having just been overwhelmed at the immensity of the event of the Incarnation of Christ, the Eternal Word having been made flesh in her womb, Mary’s thoughts do not dwell upon herself, but rather upon the needs of her neighbor.
Even before the birth of Christ Himself, we find in the very selfless nature of Mary’s thoughts and actions a beauty and a simplicity which allow us to naturally place her in high esteem.
And it is in this purest form of selfless thought and deed which prompts her to give genuine thanks and praise to her Heavenly Father; “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” – words which evoke the sincerest form of prayer giving gratitude and praise for God’s unfailing Goodness.
If we could attain for ourselves a faith close to the faith of Mary our Mother and the virtuous life she lived, we would find within ourselves that indwelling of peace that her Divine Son came to give us. And we would also find that peace and serenity which places all of our cares and sorrows of this world in the hands of God, truly trusting in His providential Love, praying in unison with Mary the words, “[He] has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things.”
Ah, but sadly, ours is a fallen nature! To be able to do this would require great faith and great trust, and, for many, that depth of conviction and confidence is very difficult to embrace. But all is not lost!
For a few weeks ago, we experienced the merciful Love of God for each of us as we accompanied our Lord in His Paschal Mystery, when He freely embraced the agonizing suffering and His Death upon the Cross, only to culminate in His Resurrection, so that our fallen nature would be lifted-up and reconciled with God! – all so that we could have the opportunity of becoming co-heirs with Christ in His Heavenly Kingdom!
And it was the foreseen merits of all that Christ would earn for each of us that this special woman, who said “yes” to God the Father to give flesh to His Eternal Son, was saved from the effects of Original Sin. Mary, who was graced with a character so pure, so void of sin, that she retained the most holy example of God’s Love and fidelity, was given a special place and grace in her role as Mother of the Redeemer.
And being inspired by the Holy Spirit, her cousin Elizabeth cries out – “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me…Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
And this expression of praise and faith should become our own. For as you and I continue to experience our sorrows and difficulties, our trials and disappointments of everyday life, we should ask ourselves the question – “How can we, as children of God, come even close to that peace and serenity which filled the heart of Mary?”
The answer is to be found in faith-filled prayer and an abiding love and unquestioning trust in a God who truly loves each and every one of us so profoundly that He gave to each of us a model of virtue to honor and emulate.
Faith, love and trust in God – all filled Mary’s heart; it filled her life to such an extent that even her fiat was given unreservedly and with great trust in God’s Divine Providence, a fiat which would result in the greatest Good which God would give to the world out of Divine Love – His Only-Begotten Son, the Eternal Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ.
And it is from this act of selfless love and charity we find in the heart and soul of Mary whereby she receives the praise from Elizabeth, which becomes a part of the daily prayer which brings us comfort and reminds us of the purity and beauty of Mary’s life – words which are preceded only by the words of the Archangel Gabriel himself, words which profess our own praise for the Mother of God, “…blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Today, we celebrate the gift God gave us in the example of Mary, who is our Heavenly and Blessed Mother, and whose perfect act of love and obedience gave us our Savior.
Let us pray that, as the Holy Spirit filled Mary with the very Presence of God Himself in a most special and profound way, may He also fill both you and me with the gift of knowing and feeling the indwelling of His Most Holy Presence within each and every one of us.
And may we imitate the faith, trust and love which our Blessed Mother lived in her life, and which she gives to each one of us today as a perfect model for us to follow.
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.’” (Luke 1:46-48a)
- “Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:48b-49)
- “My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation…My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope” (Psalm 62:2, 6)
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not.” (Proverbs 3:5)
- “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)
- “Jesus replied, ‘The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29-31)
- “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
- “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.’” (Luke 1:41c-42)
Prayer for the Day
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,St. Bernard of Clairvaux (“The Memorare”, a 12th Century prayer)
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
“Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
“O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but, in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.”