Thursday, December 25, 2014

Visited by the Lord

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

It would be very tempting to simply regard the story of the Visitation as the journey of Mary to come to the aid of her cousin Elizabeth. After all, the gospel tells us that Mary went in haste into the hill country to enter into the house of Zechariah. But the first reading taken from the Song of Songs tells us that there is something more that our eyes do not immediately appreciate. The Song of Songs describes how God, who is the soul’s lover, is likened to a young stag (usa) which springs across the mountains and leaps across the hills in order to get to the one he loves to whom he says: “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!”

With this prophecy in mind, when we look at Mary as she traveled in haste across the hill country to the house of Zechariah, we should also consider the One we do not see: Jesus who was in Mary’s womb. Jesus made Mary go in haste to Elizabeth. Through Mary, Jesus springs across the hills in order to bless with the Holy Spirit both Elizabeth and the baby in her womb. That is why at the sound of Mary’s greeting, the baby John the Baptist leaped
in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and John the Baptist was sanctified in Elizabeth’s womb in accord with what the angel said to Zechariah. It was indeed a joyful encounter between Mary and Elizabeth, between Jesus and John the Baptist who were still in the respective wombs of their mothers. This joy is brought about by the Holy Spirit whom the nascent Christ shared with Elizabeth and John. The Holy Spirit enabled John to proclaim the presence of the hidden Savior. The Holy Spirit enabled Elizabeth to recognize the fact that God has honored Mary with Divine Motherhood. The Holy Spirit enabled Elizabeth to recognize the greatness of Mary’s faith. In other words, because they were filled by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, both Elizabeth and John were drawn out of themselves so that they may recognize the blessedness of the one who comes to meet them.

Christ is in haste to meet us. Like the young stag, he stands and gazes through the window and says to us: Arise, my beloved, and come! He “gets us moving, urges us to leave aside self-absorption. He tells us: Arise and come; leave our pre-occupation with our selves. Pope Francis said: “Because when we put Christ at the center of our life, we ourselves do not become the center! The more that you unite yourself to Christ and he becomes the center of your life, the more he leads you out of yourself, leads you from making yourself the center and opens you to others.” “We are not at the center; we are, so to speak ‘relocated.’ We are at the service of Christ and of the Church.”

When we are drawn by Christ out of ourselves, it will be then that we will recognize the blessedness of others. It will be then an opportunity to find joy in others.

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! 

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