Today, May 31st, some Christians celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. Here is the Gospel reading from Lk 1:39-56
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."
Even before birth, Jesus was already bringing life and joy to Elizabeth, her son John, and the Virgin Mary. John the Baptist "leaped for joy" upon Mary's arrival.
Notice that Elizabeth tells Mary "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." She is the first to recognize Mary as the Mother of God. The beauty of this day is that a wonderful encounter took place between four souls- one that gave happiness and hope to everyone.
Following Elizabeth's example, I pray that expectant mothers be filled with the same courage and faith as her. Following Mary's example, I wish that all women be filled with the grace of accepting God's will and trusting His plan, especially when faced with a difficult pregnancy.
Happy Feast of the Visitation!