|The Feast of the Visitation
of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth
Zephaniah 3:14-18, or Romans 12:9-16
Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. -- Isaiah 12:3
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. -- Luke 1:45
God invites us to abandon ourselves to joy on this Feast of the Visitation.
We are loved and saved and in the eternal care of the Lord. The great promise is kept.
This is a time of year when families and friends gather to celebrate graduations, endings and beginnings, reunions, weddings. Such joy is irresistible.
Yet the world resists. There is meanness, pain, conflict, betrayal, hatred. Every day brings each one of us a dose of such things. Focused on these things or on our own cynical pursuits of financial or emotional security, it is difficult to make room in our hearts for joy in God's love. Still, the Lord, the persistent promise-keeper, searches day and night for space in every heart. We feel and hear him there when we quiet ourselves enough to pray. Our prayers do not make the world go away. But if we are in the least bit willing, God will plant solid trust and sheer joy in our hearts and help us defy the darkness that surrounds us.
Mary and Elizabeth (and probably Joseph and certainly Zechariah) were well aware of the uncertainties and hardships of the world into which they were bringing their babies. Most moms and dads are. Remember that both Zechariah and Mary initially were troubled to learn that they were to become parents. That reality in no way diminished their ultimate joy. All the doubt, sadness and heartbreak in the world is powerless to dilute a parent's joy in a beautiful newborn. And they're all beautiful.
The joy of the Feast of the Visitation certainly is wrapped up in the joy of a couple of soon-to-be mothers. Yet there is more to it: Elizabeth calls Mary blessed because she trusted in God's promise. And Mary gives voice to a beautiful song of trust and praise: God singles out the lowly to fulfill his greatest purpose. He is both mighty and merciful, sweeping aside the "arrogant of mind and heart," lifting up and feeding the hungry.
My prayer is that today, I will remain present to the image of Elizabeth
and Mary rejoicing, embracing. May I remember that no matter what
happens today, the fountain of salvation is never more than a willing,
joy-filled heartbeat away.
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