May 31, 2022
by Eileen Wirth
Creighton University-Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 572

Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
Luke 1:39-56

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

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?

- Luke

It had been a quiet morning in our sleepy town when I heard my neighbor, Elizabeth shriek. Alarmed, I ran to see what was wrong. Elizabeth had been so worried since she learned about her cousin Mary’s unconventional pregnancy. Was she okay?

But this shriek sounded joyful!

Then I saw Elizabeth embracing Mary as Mary entered her house.  “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?”

Was I hearing Elizabeth correctly? Had Mary really ridden a donkey several days to get  away from local gossip about her unmarried pregnancy?

I don’t know what happened next, but I would never forget what I had seen and heard.

I wondered what Elizabeth knew about Mary’s baby that she hadn’t told me. Surely she would tell me later. But Mary had found shelter with her beloved cousin. That was enough for now.

The gift of Ignatian imaginative prayer helps me picture this beautiful scene of women supporting each other through a time of crisis for both. I love the lessons that these two amazing women teach us.

Mary and Elizabeth demonstrate a way to cope with the difficulties of our own lives and those we love that is both instinctive and intentional.

It must have been hard for Mary to ride several days on a donkey to pay an extended surprise visit to her cousin even though she knew she would be welcome. Would she cause a local gossip problem for Elizabeth? But Mary needed a respite badly enough to take the risk. Anyone who has lived in a community where everyone knows everyone else’s business understands.

From Mary we learn to seek the gift of other people that God has given us.

From Elizabeth we learn to give others the gift of unconditional love and support when they need it most – a concrete expression of God’s unconditional love for us.
Frequently we are called to play each role. Mary and Elizabeth inspire us to risk loving others unconditionally no matter what the circumstances and to reach out to others to give them this same opportunity.

Blessings to those who need such support now and to those who are providing it. Surely Mary and Elizabeth are with you.

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