Our Visitation

For more than 700 years we have had the rosary as a wonderful example of prayerful reflections focusing on the Incarnation, Passion and triumph of Jesus. As tradition has it, St. Dominic was visited by the Mother Mary, outside of Provence France, who told him to add 15 lessons, the mysteries, to the tradition of the Marian Psalter.

What is always so amazing to me is the timeliness, relevance, and elegance of these mysteries. Taken as an individual reflection they are beautiful and thought provoking but take together as 5 or 15 at a time they tell a wonderful story of our path to a more intimate relationship with God through His son.
Take the Joyful mysteries as an example. On one level we hear the story of the Incarnation of the Son of God, on another we see the amazing journey of Mary from hearing the angel Gabriel telling her of what was to come to the ultimate finding of her son in the temple and His telling her what was to come. “Did you not know that I had to be in my father’s house?” He was telling her that He had to leave and only He knew how and when.

In this Advent season we hear and think a lot about Mary. The young girl that was destined to carry the Word of God within her. We hear how she was prepared from birth for this special responsibility, and how she would have to share this gift from God with the world. She knew that it would be difficult, and painful but when asked she didn’t have to think about it, she simply said “yes”.

As I mentioned originally these beautiful mysteries are though provoking. So, what if these Joyful mysteries are not just about Mary’s Journey? What if they tell us about our journey? What if we, for a moment, substitute ourselves in place of Mary. I am not suggesting that we are all getting pregnant but what if the angel is telling us that the Word of God will be placed within us. What if the Angel is saying to us that “the Lord is with [us]”?

What if he is telling us “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God”. Again, I am not suggesting that any of us are on par with the glory of the Mother of God – not saying that you are not – but we are all personally known and loved by God. How far a stretch is it to say that we all have the Son of God within us, and we are all expected to share Him with the world around us.
I said that the grouping of five mysteries tell an elegant story. And that the Joyful mysteries tell of this Incarnation of God on earth. The story begins with the Son of God being place in our hearts, then we hear of that spirit inside of us coming to life, then being born. The fourth mystery tell of our sharing that word with the world and finally we learn that we are destined to follow that life into the kingdom of God.

Today’ gospel tells us of that life within us “leaping for joy”. If we put ourselves in Elizabeth’s shoes, we realize that through the intervention of the Holy Spirit a life has been placed inside us. One that we thought that we were too old, or too jaded, or too cynical, or too unworthy to receive but it is there inside us none the less. Imagine our reaction, the joy at the realization, who do we tell? Running down Elk telling everyone that we see might be one option but maybe not at first. If we are Elizabeth, and the Holy Spirit has just placed this new life inside of us, what is our immediate reaction? Smiling and saying “thank you” seems to be lacking something. So, we are left there not knowing what to do. Maybe a little unsure, definitely a little afraid until Mary goes out of her way to come see us. And we are quote “filled with the Holy Spirit… 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.”
Not to spoil the surprise but in tomorrow’s Gospel we hear Mary’s response, Her Magnificat. And then on Thursday we hear of the birth of John and Friday is Christmas Eve. Let’s spend these last remaining days of Advent thinking of our place in these readings. Today we hear of our Visitation, think of our place in tomorrow’s story and the next day and ultimately in the Christmas miracle so that on Christmas morning the first gift that we unwrap can be the one that the Lord has prepared for us and that we are ready and willing to receive.

LK 1:39-45 21:28-32

Mary set out in those days
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.”

December 21, 2021

December 21, 2021

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